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Indigenous inmates at the St Helliers Correctional Centre are building modular homes for Aboriginal communities in rural New South Wales (NSW) as part of a program to help Indigenous offenders find work in building and construction upon their release.
The Gundi program began in June 2011 and supports Indigenous inmates by giving them practical skills and the formal TAFE qualifications to go with them in a range of construction-related jobs, including carpentry, plumbing and electrics. The program is a partnership between the State's Aboriginal Housing Office and the commercial arm of the prison service, Corrective Services Industries (CSI). Currently there are 20 Aboriginal inmates among the 35 prisoners working on the housing construction project.
Five participants have found jobs and nine offenders are being monitored and supported in the community, after being released. The partnership between Corrective Services Industries (CSI) and the Aboriginal Housing Office could see up to five modular homes built in the jail each year.
The program aims to boost the job prospects for offenders when they are released, while also addressing a serious housing shortage in remote areas, where a lack of qualified tradespeople has contributed to overcrowding for many Indigenous families.
Source: ABC news