About the Tai Aroha residential programme

What is Tai Aroha?

Tai Aroha is a residential violence prevention programme in Hamilton. It works closely with local iwi and incorporates Waikato-Tainui tikanga into the design of the programme.

How can I find out more about Tai Aroha?

Ara Poutama Aotearoa has recently published a video about Tai Aroha:

Tai Aroha: A Residential Therapeutic Programme.

Where can I download the 2015 Tai Aroha evaluation?

The 2015 Tai Aroha evaluation can be downloaded from our website.

What did the evaluation look at?

The 2015 evaluation of Tai Aroha was an in-depth analysis of the effectiveness of the programme. It looked at several aspects of the programme including:

  • Recidivism outcomes
  • Programme integrity
  • Psychological measures
  • Graduates’ perceptions of the programme.

What does the evaluation show?

The evaluation shows that:

  • The programme was having some positive results on recidivism for residents on a sentence of home detention, but not for residents on a sentence of intensive supervision
  • The programme appeared to be having an improved impact on recidivism rates of residents who participated in Tai Aroha after the “bedding in” period, due to better selection of residents, retention, integrity and technology
  • There were meaningful changes on the psychological functioning of programme graduates
  • There was a consistency of good practice, reflected in the quality of the programme delivery and the dedication of staff and residents to the principals and practice standards of the programme.

Several recommendations to improve the outcomes of the programme were suggested.

Has Corrections implemented the recommendations?

We have implemented most of the recommended changes. As of 2021:

  • Most Tai Aroha residents are serving a sentence of home detention, and only around five to ten per cent are on intensive supervision. No residents at the Bristol Street residential programme will be on a sentence of intensive supervision
  • Reintegration coordinators now complete structured assessments of each resident’s specific needs. This is used to design reintegration plans that meet those needs. We have developed systems to monitor the implementation of the residents’ rehabilitation plans and adjust them if needed
  • Staff receive ongoing training on personality-focused interventions, and we have set up weekly meetings with all clinical staff that assess personality factors and variables and how these impact on the treatment of specific residents.

Did Corrections implement the Treatment Readiness, Responsivity and Gain scale: Short Version in the preassessment phase?

No, we chose not to implement that recommendation. Instead, we:

  • Have made amendments to the matters that are required to be assessed by the psychologist when they are undertaking the pre-assessment to determine if a resident is suitable for the programme
  • Now employ psychology assistants who help complete the initial programme psychometrics within the first couple of days of the men starting. This used to occur in the first couple of weeks. This helps to identify any personality factors and treatment needs that were not fully identified in the pre-programme psychological assessment.

Is there another evaluation underway?

Yes, we are currently undertaking a new evaluation of Tai Aroha. This will give us an opportunity to look at a range of outcomes that the programme has for residents and their families, including the long-term impacts that the programme has on recidivism. It will also include a thorough evaluation of the mātauranga Māori aspects of the programme.

Is there a 2012 evaluation?

Yes, a review of the first two years of Tai Aroha was undertaken in 2012. This provides a concise but thorough description of the programme design and implementation during its initial phases, and includes information about referral processes, programme content, operational procedures and process, feedback from staff and participants about the programme and an initial analysis of psychometric testing of residents.

The 2012 evaluation was not an outcome evaluation, as the programme had not been running long enough for this.

Tai Aroha 2012

Why is Tai Aroha not included in Corrections’ annual RQ outcomes analysis?

Corrections uses the Rehabilitation Quotient (RQ) to gauge the extent to which reoffending is reduced among those who have received a rehabilitative intervention, such as being a resident at Tai Aroha.

In order to calculate the RQ, we require a minimum number of participants to support statistical analysis. With regard to Tai Aroha, the number of participants is still too small to calculate the RQ.

What does the evaluation mean when it says that these are “tough men and tough to manage”?

Residents at Tai Aroha have complex backgrounds and rehabilitation needs, which the programme has been designed to address.

The residents who were identified as being the most difficult to manage were on a sentence of intensive supervision and/or had untreated mental health and substance difficulties. We have addressed this by reducing the number of residents who are serving a sentence of intensive supervision, and better assessment of potential residents for significant untreated mental health issues or high treatment needs relating to alcohol and drug use.

How many incidents have there been at Tai Aroha where there was potential for harm to the community?

Between January 2015 and June 2021, there have been 26 incidents at Tai Aroha.

There were a further 19 incidents from January 2010 to December 2014. However, the proposed programme will be modelled on the current Tai Aroha operating model, which has developed since 2015. Therefore, the information about incidents from 2015 is most applicable to what we want to do.

The incidents from 2010 to 2021 mostly involved residents leaving the Tai Aroha property without permission. In all of the incidents, we are not aware of any member of the public being threatened or harmed by a resident while they were making their way from the Tai Aroha property.