Media Alert: Services remain intact for PARS

Amidst news late last week about the early 2014 closing of the Prisoner Aid and Rehabilitation Trust in Christchurch, PARS are keen to make sure that it is understood that they are not part of the affected organisation.

"The funding environment for not-for-profit organisations remains challenging," says PARS Executive Director, Tui Ah Loo. "PARS remains in a strong operational position, however, our empathy and support goes out to others in the sector who are affected."

Separate from Prisoner Aid and Rehabilitation Trust, PARS is based in Mt Eden and is contracted by the Department of Corrections to deliver reintegration services to anyone in the top of the North Island, operating alongside prisons throughout the entire region right down to the Bombay Hills, as well as looking after those who are deported back to New Zealand. "A large region, including the prison privately managed by SERCO, all falls in our jurisdiction," says Tui. "We also interview prisoners throughout the whole of New Zealand under our Supported Accommodation service."

The Council and management team at PARS assure clients and their whanau that services will not be affected by the closure of other organisations in the sector and furthermore, PARS will continue to provide support where there are gaps in services.

Started over 114 years ago, PARS provided services to 2813 prisoners in the last financial year. The services that PARS provide include support in finding accommodation, improving connections to support networks, liaising with government departments and community care agencies and providing practical help to get prisoners back on their feet including assistance with obtaining ID, opening bank accounts, and sorting their finances. PARS are instrumental in supporting prisoners to become independent, responsible and contributing members of society, who are capable of healthy decision-making and achieving their unique dreams and aspirations.

Without the support of PARS, and similar organisations, ex-prisoners are left to navigate the added difficulties of a post-prison life alone. PARS are vital to breaking the cycle and helping clients to reintegrate positively back into society.

Future-focused, PARS are looking to diversify and grow their operations in the coming year, with the aim of providing more choices to prisoners and their whanau.