1 August 2023

Pilot paves positive pathways

A partnership with Te Whare Manaakitanga (TWM) team at Rimutaka Prison and Auckland South Corrections Facility (ASCF) has resulted in an exciting new pilot. The six-month pilot creates a positive pathway for six men who have graduated from TWM to keep the kaupapa going in a dedicated self-care villa at ASCF.

ASCF is operated by Serco New Zealand under a Public Private Partnership with Corrections.

Te Whare Manaakitanga is one of four specialist units in our prisons that offer the Special Treatment Unit: Violent Offenders (STU:VO) - a nine-month psychological programme within a therapeutic community dedicated to treating people who have been identified as having a high risk of violent reoffending.

However, when men complete a STU programme and go back to old routines or environments (ie mainstream units), they can slip back into old habits and lose a lot of what they have practised in the programme.

Manager Psychological Services for Te Whare Manaakitanga Nicky Perkins says self-care units provide a good opportunity for men to build on what they learned from the STU experience. For several reasons, our self-care units are not always an option for men coming out of a STU. After submitting proposals for a couple of years, with determination and persistence, the team found a solution at ASCF.

“It was one man in particular who motivated us to push for this pilot,” says Nicky. Leni* came into prison as a teenager on a life sentence and was one of the men on the Young Adult programme pilot that TWM ran in 2022. Leni has been in prison seven years so far. He has completed all the programmes recommended on his sentence plan, but his Parole Eligibility Date (PED) is not until 2027. This created a risk that Leni would need to go back to a mainstream, non-therapeutic environment, and the progress he had made in TWM could be undermined.

Nicky felt they “were stuck and if we did not find a solution Leni would be the one to pay the price.”

Nicky reached out to ASCF Deputy Director Residential Manager Chris Burns and Principal Adviser Prison Population Paul Smith to discuss the possibility of men being transferred to ASCF after completing an STU:VO programme.

They agreed to consider Leni for residence in one of their self-care units. From there the idea to establish a dedicated self-care unit at ASCF for TWM graduates came about, allowing men to maintain the skills they learned in therapy.

* Not his actual name

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