Govt keen to turn prisons into working prisons

The Government's plans to turn more prisons into working prisons could hit a snag.

Prisoners will be placed in a 40-hour week programme of work and rehabilitation as part of the Government's goal of reducing re-offending by 25 percent by 2017.

Professor of criminology at Victoria University John Pratt says some prisoners may not be able to handle productive work.

He says what also has to be remembered is that many prisoners have very serious literacy problems, so the work they're able to do will be limited.

Professor Pratt would rather see them being given education so they'll be better prepared for release.

All prisoners locked up in Rolleston, Mt Eden Women's and Tongariro/Rangipo jails will be working or studying for 40 hours a week this year.

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley wants all prisoners working and is starting with those three prisons.

Those working in a prison will earn between 20 and 60 cents an hour, while those in the community will earn market rates, with money taken out for board and any fines owed to the Corrections Department.

Anne Tolley has a clear aim in mind - getting prisoners work skills and qualifications.

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