Wednesday March 21, 2018   Last updated 17:51PM

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Prison trauma hurting families

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Justice reform group Just Speak wants to make prisons more family friendly.

The recommendation is contained in a report to be launched in Auckland tonight, Unlocking Prisons: How we can improve New Zealand’s prison system.

Kim Workman from Rethinking Crime and Punishment says the group identified the level of contact between whanau and prisoners has become major issue in the prison system in recent years.

The frequency of lock downs and the increased security makes visits much more difficult, and many families find the process so traumatic they stop visiting.

Mr Workman says innovation is needed, such as using video links to allow prisoners to keep in touch with their families and continue to play a role in parenting, as is done in South Korea.

"So they’re quite happy to have a prisoner stay at prison and talk to the parole board via video. Let's turn it round the other way and say well why not have the whanau call in at the prison in the evenings and have meetings with the prisoners via the video connection. I mean its already installed it wouldnt be a difficulty," he says.

Kim Workman says rehabilitation needs to start the day a prisoner starts there sentence, and that includes maintaining or repairing relationships with family.


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