New Zealand’s first specialist treatment programme for child sex offenders has marked its 25th anniversary.
Establishing the unit in 1989 was a bold undertaking with Canterbury residents concerned about sex offenders being released into their neighbourhoods.
Department of Corrections says the unit has a high success rate when it comes to reducing re-offending.
The unit’s principal psychologist Alex Green says 93% of men who complete the programme don’t go on to sexually re-offend.
As part of the rehabilitation, prisoners at the unit tend to a garden with the produce donated to the Christchurch City Mission.
There’s also an on-site nursery with the prisoners growing plants which are then sold to garden centres and landscapers.
More than 1100 men have taken part in the programme since it started.
The programme is mainly designed for offenders nearing the end of their prison sentences.