DoC and Corrections work together

(File)
(File)

Offenders serving community-based sentences could find themselves developing 'green fingers' as part of a partnership between the Department of Conservation (DoC) and the Department of Corrections.

The deal signed today will see offenders look after DoC sites across the country.

Offenders will look after up to 50 DoC sites and tracks across the country, and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says it's a win-win.

"Thirty-three-thousand people, that's wonderful for DoC, and we give back to them a sense of satisfaction of what they've completed, so they weed and plant, but also gain qualifications."

Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-liga says the initiative may also extend to offenders behind bars, and says those released into the community will be strictly monitored.

"We'll look at it in terms of release to work and temporary release schemes. We'll certainly look at all options because this is a really good way for offenders to spend their time."

Although Ms Barry says there will be restrictions to what they can do.

"We would probably tend to keep away from chainsaws, sprays and machetes, and similarly sprays because of addiction issues."

Those behind bars will also grow and supply native plants to conservation projects.

Corrections say the programme comes with no extra cost, and hopes it'll help reduce reoffending.

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