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Mental health, addiction services for offenders get $128 million funding boost

Offenders will benefit from a $128 million boost to mental health and addiction services, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis announced today.

The $128.3 million investment will enable more people to access better mental health and Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) services both in prisons and the community.

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Grant Robertson explained on Breakfast this morning how the “wellbeing” budget will improve the lives of Kiwis. Source: Breakfast

"This expansion of services will help reduce reoffending by targeting some of the key drivers of crime and barriers to rehabilitation," Mr Davis said.

"If we support people struggling with mental health or addiction issues, we make it easier for them to engage in education, employment and rehabilitation activities, and develop positive relationships with whānau and support networks. That means they can get their lives back on track."

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Mental health professionals say without funding emergency nurses and other ED staff will continue to quit. Source: 1 NEWS

The investment also includes a family/whānau service for the family/whānau of offenders who need mental health services, help with accommodation and after care support services.

Once fully implemented, the expanded mental health services will support up to 2,310 additional offenders with mild to moderate mental health needs per year.

An increase in mental health clinicians from 38 to 63 will also allow national coverage of services across prisons and community sites, as well as 15 new support workers to assist clinicians working with offenders in the community.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

"We can’t expect to reduce reoffending and see fewer victims of crime if we don’t deal with the issues that landed people in prison or on a community sentence in the first place," Mr Davis said.

"This investment is an important step in helping offenders on to a better path, which is critical to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all New Zealanders."

The funding forms part of the Government’s $1.9 billion investment in mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders.

Gang members make up almost 40 percent of New Zealand's prison population.
Prison (file). Source: istock.com