Executive Summary

The Department of Corrections occupies a very important place in the justice sector. We have the responsibility of ensuring that offenders are held accountable for their actions  and  that  the  public  are  protected  from  re-offending.  We  have  set  an ambitious  target  for  ourselves:  reducing  re-offending  by  25 percent  by  2017, resulting in 4,600 fewer offenders returning every year.
To achieve this goal we have put rehabilitation at the front and centre of our work with offenders, without compromising public safety. This has been possible because we have:

  • invested in our prison sites and community probation centres, which are now more secure than ever and much better equipped for staff to deliver rehabilitation programmes, education and training
  • transformed the culture of prison and probation staff, with a much stronger focus on professional judgement and accountability
  • introduced new forms of monitoring technology, which allow us to track offenders' whereabouts and stop re-offending.

As a result, Corrections has the capacity and capability to meet the demands placed on it. The changes we have made are also producing measurable results, with re­offending rates declining steadily between 2011 and 2014, as illustrated below.

Rate of re-offending

In the three years from June 2011 we have already seen an 11.4 percent decrease  in the rate of re-offending.  We're  on track to  meet our  target by 2017, with more of the benefits to come from our increase in interventions.

Graph of rate of re-offending - target and actual

For this progress to continue, we will have to intensify our rehabilitative efforts. In our prisons, this means prisoners making much more use of their time to develop skills and prepare for employment upon release.

We will  also need to do more to ensure released offenders stay out of prison  for good. Building on the success of our Out of Gate reintegration programme, we will create more employment opportunities, and make it easier for offenders to access housing and other community services post-release. Government and private sector agencies are already working in this space. By combining our efforts and resources we will achieve better collective outcomes  and  deliver better public value. The table below summarises work that is planned or underway in these areas.

Focus areas Work planned or underway


While offenders are serving a sentence- whether it's in prison or the community - they have a range of opportunities to improve their prospects, including rehabilitation programmes, education and training and work experience. All too often, however, the gains that offenders make are not sustained when they complete their sentence. In large part, this is because the conditions to support a crime-free lifestyle are not in place and offenders have no particular plan for the future.

  • More education programmes for community-sentenced offenders.
  • Supported accommodation for more released prisoners to ease their transition back into the community and housing options for high risk offenders on prison land.
  • Targeted case management of offenders who have completed their sentence to ensure that those who are at greatest risk of slipping back into criminal activity are given support at critical points, for example during their first year of employment.
  • More interventions delivered by probation staff to ensure that offending risk factors are identified quickly,as well as to build motivation and sustain change.


Traditionally,prisons have been a place for prisoners simply to serve their time. We expect more of prisoners, but we know that in order for them to use their time constructively, our staff need to play their part. This means that every prison officer at every levelhas the desire and ability to support and motivate prisoners to engage. It also means that prisons- under the stewardship of ambitious prison managers and regional commissioners - are places of industry, treatment and learning.

  • Increase prisoners' involvement in constructive activities so that more of their time is dedicated to education, industry training and rehabilitation programmes.
  • The professional culture of prison staff will be strengthened in line with successful changes in the probation service. Staff will be able to see how their work supports and enhances opportunities for prisoners to work towards a crime-free lifestyle.


Over the past few years, we've forged strong links with government agencies and the private sector because we know that many of the challenges offenders face can't be addressed by Corrections alone. As a result, there have been some innovative collaborations that point the way to much larger scale and longer-term projects, in the areas of information and intelligence sharing for high-risk offenders (Police and Ministry of Justice), education (Ministry of Education,TEC) and training (Department of Conservation, Housing New Zealand, national employers) and community support (Work and Income).

  • Expansion of successful initiatives, such as anti-drink-drive interventions offered through Community Work in partnership with Police and local service providers. This work is vital to tackling the very high number of convictions for driving related offences (22,000 alone in 2013). It will be complemented by new powers to alcoholand drug test offenders in the community.
  • National employers realise the benefits of employing ex­ offenders who have been well-trained in prison and who are backed by Corrections staff after release. The next step is to increase the number of jobs guaranteed by employers, building on agreements with Fletchers, Envirowaste and Clelands, for example.