Prisoners face 40-hour working week under National

Published: 2:06PM Wednesday September 10, 2014 Source: ONE News

The National Party is vowing prisoners will have to do a 40-hour working week if it's returned to government.
Inmates will also be expected to take part in skills and education programmes.
John Key and Corrections spokeswoman Anne Tolley inspected the new South Auckland men's prison today and promised to have all the country's prisoners in work and training by 2017 if National is re-elected.

"I'm talking about a structured 40-hour week," Mrs Tolley says. "So they will still have to get up in the morning, have their breakfast like everyone else and get dressed and go off to some form of activities."

At the new jail, prisoners will work for outside companies from inside the jail.

"They are then creating employment opportunities for prisoners that on their security rating they might never have done on a release to work," Mrs Tolley says.

They'll get paid the "market rate" for working in kitchens or manufacturing equipment. But once money is taken for board, they'd be left with a couple of dollars a day.

Those who refuse to work or study will face punishment.

"Well there's a variety of management techniques that the officers will use," Mrs Tolley says.

The Labour Party welcomes the move, but has some concerns.

Labour's Corrections spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern says 90 percent of prisoners have some kind of literacy issue.

"We know that a need is there. It's about making sure that we have enough Corrections officers available to make that training safe and that we have enough programmes on offer," she says.

Act and the Conservatives - two of Mr Key's potential coalition partners - will be pushing National for a lot more when it comes to its Corrections policy than just forcing prisoners into work.

Conservative leader Colin Craig and Act's Jamie Whyte support the policy. But Mr Craig wants an end to parole. And Act wants tougher sentences for offences like burglaries and home invasions.

"I genuinely believe the pathway we're tracking here is absolutely the right one," Mr Key says.

Although Mr Key admits he may have to change tack if he wins the election to accommodate coalition partners.