BREAKING THE CYCLE: One man's quest to change young lives
A PROGRAM helping turn around the lives of young offenders at the Acmena Juvenile Justice Centre in Grafton has been recognised in NSW Parliament amid a call to boost its funding.
Juvenile justice chaplain Pastor Pete Boughey of Casino helps locked-up youths gain the skills they need to find work through his fledgling Pathways to Employment program.
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said the centre's high recidivism rate had stirred Pastor Pete's passion to help the young people change their lives' trajectories.
"He claims the repeat offender rate is about 75% and he has taken it upon himself to break this cycle," Mr Gulaptis said.
"He has sourced some funding to employ three young offenders who work in his garage cutting up rags for Lifeline or making wooden toys for sale, with the sale proceeds going back into the program."
Mr Gulaptis suggested the program should be considered for expansion.
"This is a wonderful program which gives some discipline to these young men, teaches them a work ethic and provides a saving to the Corrective Services budget," he said.
"The program runs on the smell of an oily rag and I would love to see some additional funding to expand the program in the best interests of these young men and the community."