In 2018, Pathway Trust’s 20-year track-record in the prison reintegration space culminated in the ground-breaking launch of the Navigate Initiative - a community reintegration unit operating from inside Christchurch Men’s Prison.
It marked a powerful commitment from Ara Poutama Aotearoa, Department of Corrections, which agreed to support the charitable trust in its quest to support men in the prison’s self-care units, preparing them for life on the ‘outside’.
More than two years on, Corrections has again demonstrated its confidence in the reintegrative support provided by Pathway Charitable Trust, with the Government department renewing its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the Navigate Initiative in March. The MoU is now extended until late 2023, which will bring the total commitment for the Navigate Initiative pilot programme to five years.
The MoU will continue to strengthen the organisations’ joint focus on providing reintegrative support to men in Christchurch Men’s Prison for 6-12 months ahead of release and for six months post-release.
Christchurch Men’s Prison Director, Jo Harrex says good reintegration services are key to the success of people leaving prison and their ability to live regular, independent lives in the community. “We are well aware that to reduce reoffending and build safer communities we need to work closely with others, and this partnership is a new way of working together and ‘bringing the community in’ to our services,” she says.
“Pathway has extensive expertise in working with people on sentences and orders in the community. The Pathway Navigate team helps men in the prison unit work through their concerns about life in the community, develop confidence and life skills, connect with accommodation and employment services and the community services which will help them through the transition from prison to community. Pathway then continues to support these men in the community.”
Pathway Trust Reintegration Manager Anaru Baynes says the team on the ground within the prison see time and time again the powerful difference reintegrative support makes. “The opportunity to continue to work alongside the Department of Corrections to provide this service is a huge affirmation for Pathway and the hard work of the reintegration team and supporters who make this work possible,” he says.
“This partnership is leading the way when it comes to how the community and Corrections can work together to provide a positive support network for men returning to the community and we’re excited to be able to continue to provide this reintegrative support with the full support of Corrections. While the service is still in its infancy, both organisations were excited to see the initiative continue on the back of 2.5 years of positive indications around the impact this support model has on recidivism.”
The Navigate Initiative will continue to be funded by Pathway with Corrections expressing intent to help fund ongoing research as a show of growing confidence in the results.
The first six months after leaving prison is a high risk time for people leaving prison. By taking a community-based approach, the two organisations are working together to better prepare prisoners for parole, strengthening their ability to successfully live and work in the community, and maintain their commitment to a crime-free life on release.
“This service is an important addition to Corrections’ suite of reintegrative services. Over the past three years, the Navigate Initiative has gone from strength to strength, has become well embedded in the prison space and is a shining light in Corrections’ reintegrative space. We look forward to seeing what the next three years will bring.”