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  • Corrections Employer of the Year Announced.
  • Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith has recognised the contribution of Pink Bins, an Auckland based recycling firm, in helping to reduce re-offending and making our communities safer.
  • “They give our prisoners a second chance and put a lot of their own selves into mentoring and assisting them. This is why they are such good employers and why they’re our Employer of the Year.”
  • Pink Bins has hired 47 prisoners on release to work over the last four years.
  • “They still have people working for them once they’re out of prison and at least half of their recycling staff are re-employed once they leave the prison gates, sometimes moving into positions of responsibility ,” says Mr Smith.
  • “One former prisoner now holds a senior position in the company’s yard.”
  • The company’s Senior Machinery Operator, Robert Teal and Operations Manager, Craig Stuart, say throughout the first six years of its operations they found it very difficult to recruit reliable, hard-working and punctual staff.
  • A number of attempts to get reliable employees resulted in the same outcome – disappointment.
  • Then they came across the Department of Corrections release to work programme, provided from Spring Hill Corrections Facility located in Te Kauwhata.
  • Robert Teal says, “We believe in this programme and have had huge success in finding good, hard-working employees.
  • “We have noticed the men coming out of Spring Hill are hardworking, dedicated and want to better themselves.  99% of them are genuinely looking for a second chance. With a little bit of support and trust, along with empowerment – we have secured ourselves a reliable and dedicated workforce.
  • The idea behind the programme is to re-integrate prisoners who have reached their parole eligibility date, and have earned themselves the privilege to work outside the prison walls.  The prisoners are paid the going rate for the job.
  • They all live in a flat-like situation in prison and have the responsibility of paying for rent, food and petrol.
  • Craig Stuart says “They work side by side with people outside of prison, and are treated like they should be – a decent person looking for an opportunity to improve themselves and have a second chance at life.”
  • Ray Smith says companies like Pink Bins are gaining a good work force and helping their communities at the same time, as prisoners who are employed are less likely to re-offend.

All the employees have certificates/endorsements in forklift, wheels and track and an external provider runs onsite training for all company work machines. 

The company says; “If you have had any issues with finding hard-working and dedicated employees like us, we highly recommend the Release to Work programme.”

  •  Photo: Craig Stuart, Robert Teal and Ray Smith