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Fresh Start For Oldest Relationship

Territorial Commanders with Corrections NZ
Posted July 20, 2018

One of The Salvation Army's longest relationships has received a boost as the Army renewed its work with the Department of Corrections to support released prisoners.

The agreement, signed by Territorial leaders Commissioners Andy and Yvonne Westrupp and Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith, confirms the commitment to work together to help reduce re-offending and keep the public safe.

The Salvation Army's work with Corrections is to provide addiction treatment in four prisons, addiction support to people on community-based sentences, and to support people leaving prison with their reintegration into society--including accommodation and supporting them into stable employment. 

Although the two have been officially working together since 2006, Territorial Secretary for Social Mission Captain Gerry Walker, said the relationship went back to the late 1800s. 

'This is the longest relationship we've had with any government department. We built two of our hostels across the road from the prisons in Addington and Epsom Lodge, so men could walk out of prison and straight to The Salvation Army.' 

Andy said the partnership was hugely valuable to The Army's reintegration work. 

'It makes a real difference in providing a good base and ongoing support for the people we work with. Together we're able to help people transform their lives, to bring out their God-given potential and to make New Zealand a safer place.'

Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith said Salvation Army services were critical to helping people reintegrate and live crime-free.

'[The Salvation Army] have played an important role in helping us safely manage offenders in the community and make a real difference in people's lives.'

One of those people is Hannah*, who said the Army had helped her with accommodation and reintegration support in a new town, giving her a fresh start when she was released. The Army is also working with her on training and work readiness programmes to help find and keep a job.

'I probably would have gone straight back to offending again and back to jail if The Salvation Army hadn't given me the support they had,' she said. 'The staff give me reassurance that it's worth sticking it out and keeping trying when obstacles come up. It's kept me feeling safe, making good decisions.'

*Name has been changed