From our Chief Executive

Chief Executive Ray Smith. When you think of the Department of Corrections you don’t usually think of us as a recruitment agency. But that’s one of the areas where we’ve expanded our reach, not just so we can employ the large numbers of staff required to manage the growth in the prison population, but also to help move offenders into jobs.

In Corrections Works this month you can read about Corrections’ award for Recruitment Excellence, which we won at the HRINZ Awards in February. Over the last year we’ve put significant effort into recruiting and training an additional 900 staff needed to safely manage the increasing prison population, which now exceeds 10,700. It was good to see this effort recognised at the recent awards.

I cannot emphasise enough the importance of offenders having a job and gaining recognised qualifications that lead to a job. A job means an income, a chance to develop new skills, the opportunity to engage with others, a daily routine and a sense of pride and purpose. We know that having a job reduces the likelihood of someone re-offending, so we’ve also expanded our reach to match people serving sentences to jobs.

This month’s cover story features a joint effort by Corrections and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to help people released from prison into work. We’ve tapped into MSD’s intensive client support service to help people take that first step onto the employment ladder, and the results so far have been encouraging.

We also have our own offender recruitment service, employing 13 recruitment consultants around the country who connect employers to much-needed, skilled workers. Part of the additional support our consultants can give includes money for work boots or safety gear, a bike to travel to and from work (refurbished in our prison bike workshops), and additional training.

As part of our Women’s Strategy, Wahine – e rere ana ki te pae hou, we’re looking at alternative job options that fit into the practical realities of women’s lives on the outside. This includes jobs in construction, engineering and barista training. On page 8 you can read about the work we’re doing with the Solomon Group to train women for infrastructure jobs such as labourers, traffic management, road works’ construction, machine operators and more specialised roles.

I wanted to leave you with the words of a woman who has a new vision for her future, “I want to take down old structures, so new housing can be rebuilt.” The fact is, these women can rebuild so much more than a much needed house. With these new skills, they can rebuild lives.

Ray Smith

Chief Executive