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New Zealand Prisoners Building Copiers for Canon

New Zealand prisoners will soon begin working on photocopiers at two prisons. According to New Zealand Department of Corrections (NZDOC) Minister Phil Goff, Canon New Zealand (CNZ) will initially employ a total of 15 prisoners at Rimutaka Prison and Auckland region Women’s Correctional Facility. The program is expected to expand in the future.

“This project is another step in a government drive to get more prisoners working and learning instead of doing their time sitting in their cells,” said Goff. CNZ will pay NZDOC market rates for the prisoners work, “ …which will offset the cost of prison employment and skill training programs,” said Goff.

The 2003 prison census revealed that 55% of the prisoners in NZDOC were not gainfully employed prior to being incarcerated. Also, 52% were found to have no formal qualifications. “Through programs such as Corrections Inmate Employment (CIE) we now have 51% of the total prison population and 66% of sentenced inmates involved in employment or training,” Goff said.

Market trends are used by CIE to determine industries that require specially trained workers within the geographical areas prisoners are likely to be released. “CIE then provides prisoners with training and employment opportunities within industries that are experiencing employment shortages,” said Goff.

Prisoners will assemble new photocopiers and clean older machines. They will also dismantle obsolete printers for recycling,” said Goff. While CNZ will pay NZDOC for work performed by prisoners, it is unclear whether NZDOC will compensate the prisoners financially for their labors. What is clear, however, is that Canon will not be allowed to import copiers made by prisoners in the United States, as it is prohibited by US federal law.

Sources: Press Release, New Zealand Government.

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