LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – This month a record number of prisoners graduated from certificate courses delivered by Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE) at Northern Territory correctional centres.
A total of 83 certificates will be awarded in graduation ceremonies at the Darwin Correction Centre (DCC) and the Alice Springs Correctional Centre (ASCC), representing a 30 per cent increase from the last graduation event in December 2015.
The focus of the Country Liberals Government on rehabilitating prisoners and equipping them to start new productive lives when they leave prison is demonstrated by the record number of prisoners graduating this month from vocational courses.
The courses, in subjects ranging from kitchen skills to business and visual arts, are delivered by the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education staff at purpose-built teaching centres within the DCC and ASCC precincts.
The certificates to be awarded include qualifications in Resources and Infrastructure Operations, Construction, Indigenous Environmental Health, Visual Arts, Agrifood Operations, Kitchen Operations, Engineering and Business.
From the outset the Northern Territory Government had determined to make prisoners work-ready.
A work-ready person can do much more for their own salvation than all of the good intentions of a welfare based approach.
We know that when a prisoner participates in Sentenced to a Job recidivism rates plummet.
Whilst this program is in early days we are seeing preliminary rates closer to 20% compared with 50% for those who do not participate in the program.
A total of 57 DCC inmates will receive their graduation certificates today. A further 19 prisoners, who were among the current cohort earning qualifications, have already been released from prison after completing their sentences.
Among the DCC graduates are four female prisoners who all earned certificates in Visual Arts.
Seven prisoners at ASCC received awards for qualifications in Family Wellbeing, Conservation and Land Management and Visual Arts, at their graduation ceremony which was held on March 23.
The certificate courses are delivered by the BIITE staff at purpose-built teaching centres within the DCC and ASCC precincts.
John Elferink (pictured)
Minister for Correctional Services
LETTER TO THE EDITOR