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There's more to Corrections than prisons

Paul Tomlinson - Acting Regional Commissioner, Department of Corrections

 

Paul TomlinsonPaul Tomlinson is the Acting Regional Commissioner for the Department of Corrections’ Lower North region. The region covers a large geographical area and encompasses Wellington, Wairarapa, Manawatu, Whanganui, Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki and East Coast areas. Within the region there are nearly 30 community corrections (probation) sites, as well as four men’s prisons and one women’s prison.

Paul has more than 35 years’ experience with Corrections. His career with the Department began as a probation officer, and this role saw him progress through leadership opportunities in the North and South Islands. He is currently seconded in his current role from his permanent position of operations manager for Corrections’ Southern region, which covers the whole of the South Island.

Paul maintains an active lifestyle, which includes swimming 1.5km every morning. When he lived in Blenheim, he made good use of his small boat by fishing and diving in the Marlborough Sounds. He believes a day in the Sounds is a week’s holiday.

Those attending Paul’s talk on Tuesday 4 February will learn there’s more to Corrections than prisons. Attendees will also hear what innovative approaches are being used to help the Department reach its goal of reducing re-offending by 25% by 2017. Paul may even reveal some of his scallop spots in the Sounds.

 It’s the children who suffer

 By David Pine

There are 23,000 children in New Zealand who have a parent in jail. This stark statistic was quoted by Paul Tomlinson, Lower North Island Manager of the Department of Corrections during his presentation to Plimmerton Rotary on 4th February 2014.

The NZ Corrections Department employs 8000 staff throughout NZ. Roles are many and varied, including probation officers, corrections officers and psychiatrists. Their principal task is to look after the 8500 inmates in our prisons, most of whom are males aged between 18 and 24. Two thirds of them suffer from the effects of drugs and alcohol.

Corrections staff are focussed on reducing the high rate of reoffending and on halting intergenerational crime. They do this by encouraging participation in education and training, and through work experience. Inmates are encouraged to study any topics that are of interest to them. Many have achieved meaningful goals in learning about life skills (such as the importance of proper nutrition) and parenting skills. Courses of education range from basic literacy to advanced NCEA qualifications.

Training is provided in most trades including construction, forestry and dairy farming.   A recent innovation is for prisoners nearing release to be offered work outside the prison. Mr Tomlinson gave an example of a company that owns orchards, which has partnered with Corrections to provide work for prisoners. Everyone wins in this situation. Prisoners benefit from being gainfully employed outside the prison, the orchard company has a ready source of labour, and the community benefits through prisoners being more likely to reintegrate positively into society.

Mr Tomlinson gave an example of a prisoner who had worked at a particular orchard while in prison. Some time after his release the man decided to take his wife and young family to the orchard and, with a tremendous amount of pride, showed them where he had been working and described what he had done. This sort of outcome was very important to Corrections staff in that it demonstrated that all their hard work did often have positive results.

Toni Kerr gave the vote of thanks to Paul Tomlinson.

 

Mike and BillSnippets

 

Welcome to Mike Doig who has transferred his membership from the Rotary Club of Wellington.  Bill McAulay introduced Mike, but we look forward to hearing from Mike himself in the near future.

 

There has been a very prompt response to the referendum on Youth Exchange. Just a reminder to get your answer back to President Ron, if you have not done so.

The Rotary Club of Chelsea in Victoria, Australia sent us a lovely note, thanking us for working in with them to fund the Girl’s Dormitory at Niusawa High School on Taveuni Island, Fiji. 

Martinborough House Sauvignon Blanc – there are now just three cartons (of 12 bottles each) remaining at $170.00 per carton. Contact President Ron and Jenny 234 7657. The proceeds of the sale of this wine adds to our Rotary International contribution.  

Polio Money Boxes will be collected in February.

Easter 2014 at Ruapehu. A lovely long weekend away with the opportunity of bringing along some grandchildren. Contact Peter Lillico  -  ph 233 1281 or email bplillico@xtra.co.nz  

It's the children who suffer

 
 
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