Our stories

Prison Print Shop - creating a future for men on release

29 October 2020
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The Prison Print Shop has been in operation since the 1950s initially based at Wellington Prison, in Miramar.

The Printshop moved from Wellington Prison when it closed in 2012 to its present site at Rimutaka Prison. You will find up to eight men busy at work Monday – Friday just as in any commercial print operation, using the latest equipment and gaining relevant work experience and qualifications.

Under the tuition of trained print instructors Principal Instructor Andy Smith, and Instructors Hans Van Vliet, and David Blake, the men working in the Print Shop gain industry recognised (ITO) qualifications and transferable skills, which prepare them for post-release employment.

The Print Shop aims to:

  • provide relevant work experience and printing qualifications to prisoners (New Zealand Certificate in Manufacturing in Print Level 3)
  • deliver quality print solutions to customers to mirror commercial work, to prepare people for work readiness.
  • achieve a cost neutral long-term printing training operation to reinvest back into training
  • reduce re-offending within the Justice Sector.

“Over the years the key objectives for the Print Shop have not changed greatly, as for all of Offender Employment we are in the business of creating a future for our people and helping them develop good work habits,” says Rimutaka Prison Manager Industries Steve Luey.

The equipment in the print industry, and particularly the Prison Print Shop, has evolved over the years. In 2001 it was limited to two offset printing machines and a guillotine.

Advance 20 years and the Print Shop now boasts a digital design suite connected to a network of digital printers providing a full colour service. Steve says the equipment can also provide a five colour option, as well as wide format copies up to AO, (twice the size of A2).

The Print Shop has 1-2 graphic designers in training who can design work for print using the latest technology, Mac computers and Adobe Indesign.

“By supporting the Offender Employment Printshop you are helping our instructors provide relevant work experience and printing qualifications to the men in our care to enhance their employment opportunities on release,” says Steve. “Benefits to our customers, who are external clients as well as internal department clients, are our ability to provide bulk orders that can we distribute nation-wide direct from the Print Shop.”

“We are constantly reviewing our technology to meet customer demand, and the men working here are learning on the latest equipment, which makes the qualifications they gain up to date with the wider print industry.”

Steve says the print industry is a specialist trade area and despite an increase in the digital form, “we are far from becoming a paper-free society.”

Interested in a career as an instructor?

Instructors (Kaiwhakaako) work with offenders in prison to help them gain new skills and qualifications to improve their chances of finding real jobs when they’re released. Instructors teach both in the classroom and on the job. They oversee offenders' work and assess their skills in a professional manner.

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