Damaged red-zone houses in Christchurch being refurbished by prisoners

It's an idea that came out of the Christchurch earthquakes.

Damaged red-zone houses sitting empty are now being refurbished by prisoners.

"For Housing New Zealand, we've got a housing crisis, we've got a big waitlist and it's just an additional supply of stock for us," Project Manager, Daran Buckland, told Newshub. 

Housing NZ is teaming up with Corrections to give 70 inmates the chance to work in the Rolleston Prison's construction yards.

Some have what it takes, others are learning on the job.

"There's a range of skills. A lot of people have never picked a hammer up before," inmate Steve* told Newshub. 

Prisoners gaining valuable experience that can lead to a qualification. 

"Gives them a meaningful job whilst they're in prison. It also gives them some education,  a lot of these men haven't had a lot of chance of education or a job before they've come here. And they get those skills and become quite attractive on the outside,"  Rolleston Prison Assistant Director, Grand Boore, says. 

Now a deal's been done to build homes from scratch, providing over a hundred new state houses over the next five years. 

"Some of them would never imagine that they'd have a new build house in their lifetime. And they're beautiful and warm and dry and comfortable homes," Buckland says. 

"I feel like I'm doing positive down here, and giving back to the community,"  Rolleston Prison Inmate told Newshub. 

Support too from a former inmate, Ken*, who's found a job in the building trade.

He wants more employers to open their doors to prison graduates.

"I guarantee you, if you give the right person a chance, it'll turn their life around," he says. 

Helping prisoners get back on track, rebuilding their lives and new homes for families in need.

*names have been changed 



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