Positive prison project

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    Breathing Space Southland Trust chairwoman Lesley Soper, Salvation Army court and prison officer Bruce Heather (centre) and Invercargill Prison residential and operational support manager Phil Kirby with a collection of plastic bag sleeping mats made by remand prisoners at the Invercargill Prison during the past two months. The project was Mr Kirby’s idea. The mats would be distributed to people who were sleeping rough in Invercargill and any surplus would be sent to other centres, he said. The prisoners were keen to be involved in the project because they had either slept rough at some stage or had friends who had slept rough, he said. “You do see the change in the fellows. They are doing something positive… and it keeps their minds busy instead of worrying about their upcoming court appearance.” Each mat, consisting of more than 200 plastic bags, was designed to provide insulation for those sleeping on cold, damp surfaces, he said. More clean plastic bags were needed for the project and Mr Kirby asked the public to drop off plastic bags to the Salvation Army offices on Victoria Ave.

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