Released prisoners often struggle to re-integrate into society. One of the barriers to participating in the community is the need for a bank account, which is often difficult to secure due to lack of ID and other documentation.
The New Start initiative ensures that when prisoners are released they have a valid ID, a bank account, debit card and can access online banking. This ensures they have access to their prison trust account funds and ‘Steps to Freedom’ grant; supports their reintegration into the community and is a step towards helping them reach their financial goals.
Westpac has collaborated with the Ministries of Social Development and Justice, and Department of Corrections, and NZ Police to develop solutions that overcome these barriers. A pilot is underway at four Department of Corrections sites to ensure the process and controls are robust and sustainable. We are also developing a Train-the-Trainer model to enable Corrections’ educators to facilitate Managing Your Money workshops to prisoners to support their financial wellbeing.