Driving Programme

On the Straight and Narrow

Thousands of offenders and ex-prisoners are being given a second chance with our driving programme aimed at helping young people off the pathway to prison and a life of crime and into work.

NZ Howard League for Penal Reform CEO Mike Williams says the programme, which costs about the same as keeping one person in prison for one year is cost effective and leads to jobs for the participants.

“65% of Māori offenders have a driving offence as part of their initial jail sentence and a significant number of prison sentences are due to driving offences, including driving without a licence. Over 80% of all jobs require a driver licence.

“There are no down-sides to this programme. We create safer, legal drivers, we help keep them out of jail and we make them employable; getting them off benefits.”

A driver licence also gives people identification which is critical for getting a bank account, for signing up for a rental property, and for any other situation where ID is needed.

We currently run 18 driving programmes from Community Corrections Centres in Kaitaia, Kaikohe, Whangarei, Waitakere, South Auckland, Waikato, Tauranga, Eastern Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Wairoa, Taranaki, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Porirua and Christchurch.

Eighteen of our programmes are funded by the Provincial Growth Fund and the four urban programmes by the New Zealand Transport Authority Waka Kotahi.


Licences Achieved since 2014.

Driving instructor Amy beside one of the Howard League training cars.

Prepare prisoners to pass their learner license.

Organise driving lessons and practical tests for restricted and full licenses.

Provide a car to sit practical tests in.

Help pay for costs associated with getting a license.

Provide literacy help so that they can get to a level to pass their license.

Organise the ID needed including original birth certificate.

Share some great resources including: Drive websites, apps, quizzes and a take home work book which has 10 practice tests.

Driving Programme Research & Statistics

Research by Utting Research

Articles about our Driving Programme

Help the NZ Howard League reach its goals in reducing prisoners reoffending, reducing the prison population and helping with positive reintegration into communities, without endangering the safety of those communities.

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