Prisoners' contribution to Christmas cheer

  • 24/12/2017
Inmates in New Zealand prisons are putting their skills to good use this Christmas. Photo credit: Getty

Inmates in New Zealand prisons are putting their skills to good use this Christmas.

Corrections national commissioner Rachel Leota says many prisoners use their time to gain valuable skills and gain qualifications to help find employment after they are released, and some have been producing goods for Christmas distribution in the community.

"It is an important step in their rehabilitation and reintegration that prisoners can connect with their communities, and they gain a huge sense of self-worth and pride in being able to provide goods for families in need," she said.

At Spring Hill Corrections Facility, men have built living garden walls for the Moko Club Child Care and Education Centre in Huntly, as well as a miniature wharenui - or shared meeting house - to help children learn the correct tikanga, or Māori customs.

Prisoners at the Waikato jail have also learnt to crochet and made blankets, bonnets and booties for Plunket.

At Otago Corrections Facility, prisoners made more than 100 toys for the Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree Christmas programme and put together gifts for children in hospital.

Auckland's prison, meanwhile, is also involved with Angel Tree Christmas, with prisoners refurbishing children's bikes for donation.

They have also restored bikes for agencies such as Prisoner's Aid and Rehabilitation Society and Oranga Tamariki.

Men at Whanganui Prison have made toys for children in hospital while at the same time working towards a NZQA National Certificate in Furniture.

Whanganui Prison's industry manager Dawn Benefield says it's been a great project for prisoners to work on - a chance to contribute and a test of their skills.

"Many of the prisoners have children of their own so they know what Christmas means to kids," she said.