January 06, 2022
‘Be the change’: A modern approach to reintegrate
A wrap-around service that reintegrates, rehabilitates and reduces reoffending by men released from prison has been set up in the Hawke’s Bay.
Esther and Levi – who only go by their first names – set up RRR Organisations Worldwide, a unique programme that offers paid work, accommodation and a stable environment.
The rules are strict but fair; no drugs or alcohol are allowed.
Co-founder Esther says they provide an important space for former inmates who have often lost their partners and children.
They help get them on their feet with identification, bank accounts and drivers’ licences. A budgeting service helps them set goals for something such as a car.
Most of the men now work at the tannery and meat works which is steady employment and – best of all – provides over-time so they can earn extra to pursue their goals.
While it’s not a career, it gives them options and a solid work history for when they return to their whānau.
Esther says the men feel more independent as they’re not on a benefit.
“They get their mana back; they get a car through their own hard work. For those still inside, it provides an option for when they come out.
“I talk to their families and ask them to give them a chance, that they are making important changes in their lives.”
Although based in the Hawke’s Bay, the service is not available to those who come from the region. Despite this, the local iwi has been supportive.
“It doesn’t work if they are from around here. The same environment that got them into trouble is too accessible.”
Next month, Esther and Levi plan to open another facility in Blenheim.
Their ambition is to set up similar sites around the country and they are actively recruiting people such as former Corrections staff who may retiring and want to be involved in helping the men get back onto their feet.
“If you want change, be the change,” says Levi.