3 Jun 2012

Prison psychologist cuts a 'backwards step'

12:02 pm on 3 June 2012

Canterbury University's head of psychology says moves to disestablish some senior psychologist jobs at the Corrections Department would be a significant backwards step.

There are plans to combine prisons, rehabilitation and probation in a bid to save $10 million dollars a year.

A final decision is due later this month on the changes, which could cut 140 jobs overall.

Associate Professor Neville Blampied doesn't know exactly how many senior psychology jobs are at stake within the overall job reductions.

But in a written submission, he says it would be short term thinking of the worst kind to cut staff who create and deliver innovative programmes for offenders.

He has urged a reconsideration of the move, saying collaboration between the university and Corrections would be compromised if it went ahead.

The Corrections Department is not directly responding to the academic's concerns, but says they will be considered.

Labour's justice spokesperson Charles Chauvel says senior psychologists will play a key role in the attempt to reduce inmate reoffending and the department's move does not make sense.

The Government has pledged $65 million towards cutting reoffending by 25% within five years.