High pass rate for driver licensing at prison

A prisoner driver's licensing programme at the Otago Corrections Facility is as popular as ever and helping to curb reoffending, staff say.

In figures recently released by the Department of Corrections, 16 prisoners passed their learner licences and a further eight renewed licences in the latest round of the course at the prison in Milburn.

The programme is run twice-yearly. The Methodist Mission Southern provides a four-session course before the Automobile Association comes on site for tests and renewals.

Otago Corrections Facility principal adviser rehabilitation and learning Sherie Lucke said she did not have exact numbers, but the most recent figures seemed ''a bit higher'' than usual.

''We've had great feedback about the tutors because they can help those with comprehension and literacy issues. Without that support it would not be as successful.''

Because of the tutoring programme there was a high pass rate, she said.

Photo identification was a ''gateway to reintroduction'' for prisoners at it was required for things like Work and Income benefits and opening bank accounts.

It also showed prisoners were getting their life back on track, and ''having a licence does assist with being more employable''.

This resulted in lower reoffending, she said.

''Most are referred to the programme through case managers, although we have had some refer themselves.''

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