LocalMatters       

Chain gangs on the Wellsford line

Posted at 12:51pm Monday 14 Sep, 2020

The new programme will be a more modern take on the chain gangs of old.
The new programme will be a more modern take on the chain gangs of old.

Chain gangs of prisoners working on the northern rail line that runs through Wellsford and Maungaturoto may become a more common sight, thanks to a new government programme.

Last week, the Government announced $640,000 of funding for a prison programme that will see 20 inmates working on the line.

Prisoners will be electronically monitored while on site, and travelling to and from Corrections facilities, rather than locked up in traditional iron chains.

KiwiRail will work with corrections to select prisoners, taking into account their security classification, behaviour and future parole eligibility dates.

KiwiRail chief executive Greg Miller says the first five are expected to be working on the line by October.

It has been dubbed the “second-steppers” programme and its aim is to “assist prisoners to reintegrate into the Northland community.

“It is designed to help up-skill prisoners, with the intention to offer them fulltime work at the end,” Mr Miller says.

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