A special bricklaying program designed to teach building and construction skills to offenders in Albany Regional Prison has the benefit of improving community safety, Corrective Services Minister Margaret Quirk said today.
Eight prisoners at Albany Regional Prison are taking part in a six-week bricklaying course run by training provider Silver Trowel.
Commenting on the success of the program from Perth today, Ms Quirk said completion of the course would qualify prisoners for apprenticeships or bricklaying traineeships at level one entry after their release.
“Helping offenders gain valuable job skills is one of the Government’s key initiatives in reducing re-offending and creating safer communities,” the Minister said.
“If prisoners are released with a recognised qualification in a trade that is ready to accept ex-offenders and needs employees, they are well on the way to a law-abiding lifestyle.
“A job helps former prisoners secure somewhere to live, it gives them a sense of worth and achievement, provides hope for a positive future and allows them to make new friends away from previous relationships that may have been destructive.
“All these factors greatly reduce the likelihood of re-offending.”
Albany MLA Peter Watson, who was at Albany Regional Prison to see offenders gain official recognition of their work, said Silver Trowel had instructed prisoners in Western Australia for the past three years.
“Silver Trowel has strong employer links in the residential housing market and many prisoners taking part in these courses have obtained a job with a sub-contractor after leaving prison,” Mr Watson said.
“There is no point in sending people to prison if they come out with the same or even bigger hurdles to face.
“If prisoners can’t get a job after their release because they have no marketable skills or prospects, they are more likely to turn back to crime in order to survive.
“By giving them the chance to improve their skills and job prospects while they are serving their sentences, the State Government gives offenders a greater chance of living a crime-free life after their release.
“That is obviously of benefit to the community, which is the primary concern.”
The Silver Trowel course has given offenders practical experience in bricklaying through the construction of several projects such as compost bins and barbecues.
The State Government continues to provide training opportunities for WA prisoners for the benefit of industry, the prisoners, their families and the wider community.
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