Industry, Treatment and Learning programme

Industry, Treatment and Learning is based on a structured environment where all prisoners take part in some form of work, education or rehabilitation programme. They provide offenders with the skills and opportunities that they need, to take greater control of their lives.

Industry, Treatment and Learning (ITL) has been growing and evolving since the initial implementation of the working prisons pilot at three prisons in 2012. In 2015/16, Corrections completed implementation of the ITL framework in all public prisons.

Under this framework, every eligible prisoner is engaged in education, training, employment programmes or constructive activity as part of a structured 40 hour week. There is no ‘standard’ day at a prison as each prisoner’s day is targeted towards their individual needs – whether that is studying towards qualifications, learning a trade or attending rehabilitation programmes. Whatever their day looks like, most prisoners in ITL prisons are active for 40 hours of every week.

Corrections has also entered into partnerships with multiple employers, to provide job opportunities for prisoners. Jobs can help prisoners lead crime-free lives when they are released. As well as making an offender less likely to re-offend, a job is also good for the families and communities that offenders are part of.

Infographic titled “Prisoner progression through working prisons” and, for the final column, “Industry partners in”. Boxes, left to that top to bottom. Top row, first column “Sentence length 0 – 6 months”. Top row, second column “Sentence length 6 – 12 months”. Top row, third column “Sentence length 12+ months”. Top row, final column “Hospitality & service & food workers”. Middle row, first column “Rehabilitate (treat) Programmes & special treatment”. Middle row, second column “Learning (upskill) Foundation skills & trades training”. Middle row, third column “Industry (make work-ready) OE industry, RTW & contract work parties”. Middle row, fourth column “Align learning and industry to meet the market”. Middle row, final column “Primary Sector”. Small row, between middle and third rows, final column “Engineering & manufacturing”. Third row, first column “Treat & provide community support. Where possible re-connect with previous employers”. Third row, second and third column “Treat, upskill & increase work-readiness. Connect prisoner to training & industry experiences. Continue pathway through community support. Increase prisoner numbers receiving and retaining a job on release”. Third row, final column “Construction & infrastructure”.


Assisting offenders to gain meaningful and fulfilling employment can be central to breaking the cycle of re-offending. International research has shown a positive link between the stability, income, and satisfaction gained from work and a reduction in an offender’s likelihood of re-offending. Employment can provide structure and purpose in a person’s life, and can cement an offender’s transition to a sustainable and law abiding lifestyle.

The following outcomes make up Corrections’ framework for offender employment:

  • forming a pathway to stable, real jobs on release
  • representing the most cost effective way for offenders to gain experience and skills
  • avoiding unacceptable risks to public safety.

Offender employment includes the delivery of vocational training and on the job training, that may lead to qualifications and work experience to build the work ethic, knowledge and experience needed by employers.

A vital link exists between the ITL framework and our offender employment strategy. A prison that has the ITL framework is characterised by a structured environment where all prisoners are engaged in some form of rehabilitation, learning, industry or other purposeful activity.

We know that reimprisonment rates are positively influenced when prisoners are guided through a progressive pathway of rehabilitation, learning and industry.2 Our offender employment contributes by providing real experiences for prisoners to be work-ready on release. Securing employment is a protective factor in reducing the likelihood of re-offending, and reimprisonment rates may be further reduced when prisoners are assisted into a job on release.3

Results in offender employment are positive for the 2015/16 financial year, with reductions in re-offending recorded for all forms of offender employment. The best performers in the 2014/15 financial year were engineering and community services, and for the 2015/16 financial year there were excellent results for community services, farming and horticulture as well as food preparation, maintenance and cleaning.

Whare Oranga Ake

One of Corrections’ successful programmes is Whare Oranga Ake, which uses a kaupapa Mäori environment to help prisoners train for employment, find work, find accommodation on release and form supportive networks with iwi, hapu and community organisations while strengthening their cultural identity. The service is based in two 16 bed units at Hawkes Bay Regional Prison and Spring Hill Corrections Facility. Both units are located outside the prison’s perimeter fence.

Release to Work

Release to Work is when a prisoner is granted temporary release from prison, in order to take part in paid employment. There are understandable risks involved in this, as there are whenever an offender is allowed outside of a controlled environment and extensive screening and preparatory work is done in every case to minimise risks. When Release to Work takes place, it can play a fundamental role in developing the habits, skills and capabilities for an offender to live a stable, sustainable and law abiding lifestyle following the end of their sentence.

Release to Work has continued to show positive results, with the most recent Rehabilitation Quotient results showing that participating offenders are 4% less likely to be reimprisoned and 3.7% less likely to be reconvicted.


Before offenders can take part in on the job training or Offender Employment, the underlying causes of their offending behaviour need to be treated. This can include managing dependence on alcohol or drugs, addressing gaps in an individual’s education or qualifications and addressing aspects of attitude or habit that contribute to anti-social behaviour. Rehabilitative treatment addresses the reasons for a person’s offending in order to reduce their chances of re-offending in the future, rather than simply punishing offences after an offence has been committed.

International research shows that re-offending is not reduced simply by incarcerating offenders or increasing the length of sentences. Well designed and delivered rehabilitation programmes and reintegrative activities can have a real impact on re-offending.

During 2015/16, Corrections continued its RR25% Boost strategy, to intensify efforts to achieve our target of reducing re-offending by 25%, and by focusing on preventing crime.

RR25% Boost focuses on offenders with sentences less than 2 years. Corrections received $6.5 million of funding from the Justice Sector Fund, which contributed to the development and establishment of the Work and Living Skills and road safety interventions, and the continuation of the Out of Gate Post Release Support initiative.

We need to reduce alcohol and drug abuse

Research shows a clear link between alcohol and drug use and crime. Around half of New Zealand prisoners have substance abuse problems, and over 50% of crime is committed by people under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

In order for offenders to build stable and law-abiding lifestyles, it is essential that these issues are addressed, managed and, if possible, resolved.

In 2015/16, Corrections set an annual target of delivering alcohol and drug treatment to 4,774 prisoners. During 2015/16, 6,413 prisoners (including drug treatment unit) received a brief, intermediate or intensive alcohol and drug treatment programme.

Corrections has Drug Treatment Units (DTU) in selected prisons. The DTU are a live-in therapeutic environment for prisoners with alcohol and drug related issues. The DTU teaches prisoners about addiction, change, relapse and the effects of their actions upon others. The aim of the programme is to reduce re-offending by assisting programme participants to address their dependence on alcohol and other drugs.

The six month version of the DTU has shown positive results in the 2015/16 financial year, with reductions in rates of both reconviction and reimprisonment.

There is also a three month version of the DTU for prisoners serving shorter sentences, as well as an eight week intensive treatment programme available in select prisons.

Corrections has been allocated $8.6 million in funding over three years, commencing in 2015/16, for the Alcohol and Other Drug Aftercare package. One of three components of this package is the Alcohol and Other Drug Aftercare Worker Pilot, providing graduates of the DTU with ongoing support for six to twelve months from an Alcohol and Other Drug Aftercare Worker employed by the provider and based at the prison.

Special Treatment Units

Special Treatment Units (STUs) offer high-intensity4 offence-focused psychological interventions, delivered by appropriately qualified staff in accordance with the programme design, goals, theoretical basis and supporting research.

STUs perform at close to optimal levels. STUs have seen a reduction in reimprisonment for the fourth year in a row, and the reduction in the rate of reconviction (i.e. re-offending resulting in either prison sentence or a community sentence) is the highest seen. Achieving reductions with the most challenging group of offenders that we manage (very high-risk violent offenders serving long prison sentences) continues to place this programme on par with the best programmes of its type in the world.

High-Risk Personality Programme

The High-Risk Personality Programme works to engage some of the most challenging offenders in the rehabilitative process, offenders who may be excluded from other programmes due to aggressive behaviour, high levels of risk or maximum security classifications.

The programme was updated in 2014 and is delivered in three phases, first aiming to safely engage an offender in the programme, second to explore ways for the offender to better regulate their behaviour, and third to build a more adaptive sense of self and identity. A number of participants in the programme have moved from high-risk to low or medium, and staff have reported a range of positive outcomes for offenders who had previously had minimal engagement in the rehabilitative process.

Programmes for high-risk youth offenders

High-risk youth offenders typically present with complex needs that require intensive intervention and multidisciplinary involvement. The Mauri Tu, Mauri Ora programme was designed by Corrections in 2014 with this in mind and is being jointly piloted by Corrections and Child, Youth and Family. This programme is a specialised and intensive programme delivered and directed towards high-risk offenders aged between 16 and 20 years. The programme is grounded in well-established and researched theories and is in line with best practice. The programme draws on evidence-based interventions to address particular issues for programme participants.

The programme is divided into three broad phases. The first is induction, including pre-programme assessment and a ‘starter group’ to prepare new participants; the second is the core programme; and the third is a transition phase to assist participants to move beyond the Youth Unit and/or return to the community. The programme is designed to work within the context of a structured day, which includes therapy, education, employment, recreation, cultural activities and reintegrative opportunities.

The number of youth offenders aged between 16 and 19 years at 30 June 2016 was 344.

We also identify prisoner pathways

Ensuring that prisoners have an individualised pathway of rehabilitative and reintegrative interventions, aligned to their individually assessed risk and identified needs, is the responsibility of Corrections case managers who are situated within each of our prisons. We have set Standards of Practice as a minimum for the quality of service provided, which form part of the greater Case Management Integrated Practice Framework.

More rehabilitation that works

Delivering effective rehabilitation programmes to 7,855 additional offenders per year is a key focus for Corrections. Programmes include the Short Motivational Programme, the Young Offenders Programme and the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme. As a result of the RR25% Boost strategy, we have been able to provide more of these programmes and target additional groups of offenders that may otherwise have missed out. This year we have achieved the following:

  • Nearly 150 young people in the community took part inprogrammes targeted at addressing their specific needs. The target was set at 84.
  • Over 4,000 prisoners and community-based offenders received a rehabilitation programme from the medium intensity suite. This was 86% above target.
  • Over twice as many prisoners received end-to-end case management. This was an increase of 42% compared to 2014/15.
  • The overall number of interventions delivered under this area was above 18,000, well in excess of the target of 9,691.

Assessing our programmes and interventions

The Rehabilitation Quotient (RQ) indicates the extent to which re-offending is reduced by comparing rates of reconviction and reimprisonment amongst offenders who completed a rehabilitative intervention, with the rates observed amongst similar offenders (matched according to a range of risk-related factors) who had no involvement.

RQ scores are calculated separately for programmes delivered in prison and in the community. Results for the most recent annual analysis of outcomes are presented in the table opposite. These results are for interventions involving prisoners released within a 12 month period ending on 31 March 2015, and offenders who completed a programme while on a community sentence within the same 12 month period (ending on 31 March 2015). The follow-up period, during which any new offending is counted, is 12 months from the date of each individual offender’s prison release, or twelve months from the date of programme completion for those on a community sentence.

RQ scores in the right-hand columns are percentage-point changes in rates of either reimprisonment or reconviction, indicating differences between “treated” and equivalent “untreated” offender groups. As such, a reimprisonment score of -10.0 would indicate that if the rate of reimprisonment among untreated offenders was 35%, the corresponding rate for matched offenders who have completed would be 25%.

In the table of results opposite, darker shading indicates that the difference between treated and untreated offenders was statistically significant at the 95% level. The lighter shading indicates statistical significance just below the 95% threshold, where a programme effect is considered highly likely.

A number of observations can be made regarding the figures in the table. Firstly, reductions in reimprisonment and reconviction rates are recorded almost uniformly for the interventions evaluated, which is a good outcome. This general trend of results being almost entirely in the right direction supports confidence in the general positive impact of our wider rehabilitative an reintegrative efforts. Further, around a third of these reductions are statistically significant or approaching significance.

Interventions in prisons ReimprisonmentRecoviction
Offender employment, average across programmes* -3.8 -4.7
Special Treatment Unit Rehabilitation Programme -12.3 -16.0
Child Sex Offender Special Treatment Unit -4.5 -5.2
Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme -4.4 -6.0
Drug Treatment Unit (6 months) -5.0 -7.9
Drug Treatment Unit (3 months) -3.5 -1.4
Kowhiritanga -4.0 -5.8
Mauri Tu Pae (Māori Therapeutic Programme) -2.4 -2.1
Saili Matagi -1.5 -3.4
Short Motivational Programme -1.3 -6.0
Short Intervention Programme -1.2 -1.7
TEC delivery/industry training -4.5 -4.0
Release to Work -4.0 -3.7
Out of Gate -4.0 -0.5
Whare Oranga Ake -3.4 -6.1
Interventions in the community ReimprisonmentRecoviction
Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme -2.7 -5.4
Short Motivational Programme -4.3 -3.0
Short Rehabilitation Programme -3.8 -3.6
Alcohol and Other Drug Programme -2.3 -5.5
Alcohol and Other Drug (residential programme) -3.5 -4.3

* Offender employment is broken down into different employment types (engineering, timber, construction and so on). The figures here are the average effect across the multiple offender employment programmes.


Offender education and training

Corrections is committed to supporting offenders to engage and progress in education and training. Evidence demonstrates that participation in quality education can help reduce the likelihood of re-offending, and support overall improved outcomes for individuals, their whānau and communities.

To further help realise the rehabilitative potential of education and training, Corrections introduced a number of changes to how offender training and education is understood and delivered. In particular, Corrections has worked to develop each prison’s capability and capacity to better understand and address each offender’s education and training needs. This includes working more closely with prisoners to develop a learning pathway that is responsive to their individual needs and aspirations.

In addition, Corrections has sought to more effectively integrate culturally responsive approaches within education service delivery, to ensure that identity, culture and language are treated as core strengths that work to improve both engagement and achievement.

To increase opportunities for prisoner progression, we have continued to work with our education service partners to extend the suite of education and training programmes and qualifications available in prisons.

This remains a future focus of our work, as ensuring a diversity of education and training options is crucial for improved educational and employment outcomes within a dynamic labour market.

The Learning Pathway

In July 2015 Corrections implemented a new Education Assessment and Learning Pathway Process, to better identify prisoners’ education and training needs and create a plan for their education and employment progression.

In addition to addressing offenders’ literacy and numeracy needs, this process allows for Corrections and prisoners to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their education and training needs. This helps connect prisoners to those services that will be most effective for them in the future.

To support the above, in 2015/16 Corrections recruited 10 full time education tutors, resulting in the delivery of over 6,000 Education Assessments within prisons and 4,769 Learning Pathways.

Intensive literacy and numeracy

During 2015/16 we redesigned the literacy and numeracy support provided to prisoners, to be more intensive and to align with services that are available in the community. This included increasing the prioritisation of prisoners identified on the Adult Literacy and Numeracy Progressions as having the highest need.

As part of the redesigned services, we have placed a greater emphasis on ensuring Māori world-views inform curriculum design and delivery.

Te Wänanga o Aotearoa was successful in securing a national contract to deliver these services, with the Methodist Mission being successful for delivery in Otago Corrections Facility. In 2015/16, 961 Intensive Literacy and Numeracy Interventions were delivered to prisoners, and up to 1,300 will be made available each year in the future.

Secure Online Learning

In August 2015 Corrections launched Secure Online Learning (SOL), which gives prisoners access to a range of online educational resources. These services aim to provide prisoners access to more study options, and help futureproof prison-based education delivery as education progresses further towards electronic learning platforms.

At present, prisoners are able to access online services in the areas of literacy and numeracy support, digital literacy, driver licence theory, job searching and preparation and Te Reo. This year, 959 prisoners have taken part in SOL.

In 2016/17 Corrections will undertake further work to extend SOL to the three remaining prisons, and to increase the range of services available through SOL. This will mean providing access to a wider variety of life skills training, information on community services and tertiary-level qualifications.

Vocational and industry training

Corrections remains committed to providing offenders with access to vocational and trades training that supports prisoner transition into employment. In 2015/16 some 4,628 qualifications were awarded to prisoners, a 25% increase from 2014/15 levels.

We have particularly focused on increasing the number of higher level qualifications achieved by prisoners in the areas of trades and technical training, as these are generally in higher demand from employers. For example, level three trade qualifications grew from 645 in 2014/15 to 1,216 for 2015/16, an increase of 89%.

To improve the effectiveness of industry training, we have continued to support our staff to achieve the National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (Vocational) Level 5, allowing literacy and numeracy to be embedded as part of a prisoner’s industry training. To date we have supported over 170 staff to achieve this qualification.

We continue to work with our partners the Tertiary Education Commission and education service providers, to develop the mix of qualifications available in prisons. This will help to ensure that the right education and training pathways are available for prisoners, allowing them to gain the skills needed for employment and community reintegration.

Partnering with iwi and community groups

Following a successful pilot programme, the Te Ihu Waka framework for Tikanga Mäori programmes delivered in prisons and communities will become standard practise from July 2016. Te Ihu Waka is a culturally responsive framework, which has been developed in consultation with providers of earlier Tikanga Mäori programmes and makes use of Mäori philosophy, values, knowledge and practices to motivate offenders to address the underlying causes of their offending behaviour.

Corrections has exceeded its 2015/16 target of delivering 4,301 interventions through partnerships with iwi and community groups. This includes young Māori community-based offenders receiving reintegrative support. This level of delivery sets a basis from which to improve our performance in 2016/17, and to work towards delivering more interventions that work.

All community-based offenders are in contact with probation staff which gives all community-based offenders the chance to complete an intervention.

Corrections plays a vital role in ensuring that community-based offenders are given the opportunity to complete effective interventions and develop work and living skills.

Our Work and Living Skills interventions play an integral role in efforts to reduce re-offending. Corrections has identified six focus areas that will have the greatest impact on reducing re-offending among low-risk community-based offenders, while providing meaningful training that will have a positive effect on their lives. The focus areas are:

  • road safety
  • driver licences
  • alcohol and other drugs
  • health and wellbeing
  • finance and budgeting
  • education and employment.

Corrections also offers community offenders the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme (MIRP), which is also available within prisons. This programme helps offenders to understand what led to their offending, and builds on their skills to make positive changes in their lives. Results for the MIRPs in the 2015/16 financial year were significantly above results from 2014/15, with 2,298 offenders in the community receiving programmes within the MIRP suite, compared to 1,417 in the previous year.

Other community-delivered programmes include the Short Motivational Programme, which was delivered to 803 offenders against a target of 542, and the Short Rehabilitation Programme, which was delivered to 1,262 offenders compared to 502 in the previous year.

2 Based on 2015 RQ results giving cumulative impacts for offenders completing offender employment, trade & technical training, and a Drug Treatment Unit.

3 Based on 2015 RQ results for Release to Work.

4 High Intensity refers to interventions that include social and behavioural interventions that occur alongside a core 300 hour group treatment programme.

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