People in prison participate in a yoga session run by our volunteer Adele Kinghan. Sunday 5 December was International Volunteer Day, and Corrections would like to acknowledge and thank our 1,300 volunteers working in prisons for their commitment to helping the people we manage change their lives for the better.

Corrections volunteers work face-to-face with people in prison and help them learn new skills. Their work includes tutoring people in literacy, numeracy and te reo Māori, teaching parenting and life skills, and running programmes ranging from whakairo (carving) to beekeeping to barbershop music.

“We are incredibly grateful for our volunteers. They all bring unique talents and knowledge that complement the work our frontline staff do with people in prison,” says Corrections National Commissioner Rachel Leota.

“Many people in prison say their time with volunteers is the highlight of their week, and we see real changes in people’s attitudes and behaviour as they progress through programmes. Our volunteers are a vital part of our work to prepare people for a successful transition back to the community, which reduces reoffending and keeps our communities safe.”

Our volunteers make a big difference for people in prison, and they tell us they find their work personally fulfilling too.

Yoga instructor Adele Kinghan has been volunteering at Mt Eden Corrections Facility since 2020, and she values the opportunity to teach an in a complex and challenging environment.

“It’s incredibly rewarding when you can see the immediate and long-term results,” she says.

“I became involved because of my personal desire to make yoga much more accessible. Yoga focuses on self awareness, and this helps the men find a greater perspective on what they’ve been born into, and the lives they’ve led as a result of that - as I say in my classes, it’s a process of moving from a state of whakamā (shame), and all of the destructive behaviours that are a result of that, to a state of whakamana (inner power).”

In 2020/21, our 1,300 volunteers made more than 13,000 visits to our prisons. We also have volunteers at Community Corrections sites, who help people to complete community-based sentences and orders.