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Prisoners told to get on bike

25 Oct 2010

Prisoners at Broome Regional Prison are reconditioning the abandoned skeletons of pushbikes from the local tip in a bid to boost their vocational skills while addressing vital community transport needs.

The program, aptly titled Life Cycle, gives prisoners in the last six months of their sentence the skills and resources to give a new lease of life to abandoned bicycles.

The work takes place in partnership with the Men’s Outreach Service Broome. Men’s Out Reach Re-entry Program Manager Kevin Smith said the men honed communication, planning, goal setting, team work, record-keeping and organisation skills when reconditioning the bikes, with the final product given to offenders who have driving offences and therefore need another way to get around when they are released.

Broome Prison Superintendent Craig Castle said the program was also an active and tangible way prisoners could repay their debt to society.

“The program presents a great opportunity for prisoners to pick up some practical skills that they can take back with them to community,” he said.

Kevin said there were also preliminary plans to introduce similar programs in small regional communities. The idea is for offenders who return to remote communities to continue to use their skills in refurbishing bikes, with the aid of local councils, to equip a child with a BMX or an adult with alternative transport.

“The more we look into this the more we are realising a need for it,” Kevin said.

“When prisoners are released we give them a food hamper and clothing voucher and under the new initiative we are also sending them back to their communities with a reconditioned bike. This gives them a viable alternative to driving, and is of course a health initiative as well.

“The prisoners, the participants, are really motivated by this initiative because they can see it could have a tangible effect in their communities.”

ENDS

For more information contact Media and Publications Officer Kim Smee on (08) 9264 1838 or email kim.smee@correctiveservices.wa.gov.au

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