Continued focus on public protection
Corrections is involved in the drafting of legislation and, when passed, enacting changes that will further enhance public safety.
Public protection orders facility at Christchurch Men's Prison
A secure facility to house offenders subject to public protection orders is being built on the grounds of Christchurch Men’s Prison. Public protection orders are imposed for offenders who have reached the end of a prison sentence, but who are regarded as being at imminent risk of serious sexual or violent re-offending. One offender was being held under an interim detention order at the end of the 2015/16 financial year.
Legislation that was enacted in the 2015/16 year
Returning offender orders
The Returning Offenders (Management and Information) Act 2015 enables Corrections to manage and monitor certain offenders returning from overseas.
The supervision regime applies to eligible offenders who have served a term or terms of imprisonment of more than one year in another country. The law applies regardless of whether the offender is deported, removed or returns voluntarily.
This means that Corrections is able to work with offenders who previously would have returned to the community without the reintegrative support and supervision required to safeguard them and the public.
Corrections staff are part of the multi-agency contingent that meets returning offenders upon their arrival in the country. We work alongside Customs, NZ Police, the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Health and reintegration support organisations to ensure that returning offenders understand what is required of them under their supervision order and where they can get help.
Corrections is responsible for managing the supervision regime once each individual has been processed at the airport. The supervision is similar to parole conditions and requires offenders to report as instructed to their probation officer. It is our role to ensure that sentences and orders are managed appropriately, and to see that offenders have access to reintegration support.
Child Protection (Child Sex Offender Government Agency Registration) Act 2016
On 14 September 2016, the Child Protection (Child Sex Offender Government Agency Registration) Act 2016 received Royal Assent, after completing its third reading in Parliament on 8 September. The legislation will commence on 14 October 2016. This act will require offenders convicted of a qualifying sexual offence against a child to register a range of personal details for specified periods of time.
The register will see NZ Police and Corrections working together to share relevant information. This will enable better approaches to joint offender management and appropriate responses to changes in risk factors.
The register will provide the first nationally coordinated body of up-to-date information about offenders living in the community. All registered offenders, when residing in the community, will be required to provide a range of personal information to the register, administered by NZ Police with support from Corrections. The information must be updated either annually or when their information or circumstances change.
Electronic Monitoring of Offenders Legislation Bill
A bill that will amend the Sentencing Act 2002 and Parole Act 2002 received Royal Assent on 23 September 2016, to remove the legislative constraints on the use of electronic monitoring. The legislation will commence at the end of October 2016. The changes will enable courts to impose electronic monitoring (using GPS technology) as a condition of release from a prison sentence of less than two years and, where required, for a sentence of intensive supervision.
Bills that are still being considered by the House
Drug and Alcohol Testing of Community-based Offenders and Bailees and Other Persons Legislation Bill
Parliament is considering a bill to allow drug and alcohol testing of offenders on community-based sentences (when they are subject to conditions prohibiting consumption or use). The bill will enable Corrections and NZ Police to require selected offenders, bailees, and other individuals, who are subject to abstinence conditions, to undergo drug or alcohol testing.