Specialist units

We use specialist units to help offenders address the reasons for their offending.

Maori focus

Around half of the offender population identify as Maori, so supporting Maori offenders to lead a crime-free life is a strong focus for us. As well as engaging closely with iwi to find local and specific solutions for Maori offenders we run Tikanga programmes, and we have Maori focus units operating in five different locations.

We also have two Whare Oranga Ake units to support people to re-enter society.

Pacific focus

Pacific people have a strong established culture in New Zealand. The Pacific Focus Unit offers a therapeutic environment to motivate Pacific prisoners to address their offending behaviour by using pro-social behaviours to model Pacific values and beliefs.

Self-care units

The majority of self-care units house up to 20 prisoners who are in some form of full-time work (under our release to work programme).

Self-care accommodation, mainly situated outside of a prison’s secure perimeter, provide prisoners with a degree of autonomy. The open, shared accommodation teaches people the necessary living skills (budgeting, cooking and cleaning) required for a successful reintegration into society.

Violence prevention

The violence prevention unit is for violent offenders who are at high risk of further violent offending and gives participants the skills to avoid re-offending.

Special treatment units

High intensity treatment programmes are provided by psychologists for people who are at highest risk of violence or sexual re-offending. These prison-based, therapeutic community environments are offered in six special treatment units.

These programmes include intensive reintegration and safety planning for release.

Two of the units provide treatment for child sex offenders, while the other four provide treatments for violent and adult sex offenders.

Drug treatment

Drug treatment units provide a group-based programme in a therapeutic environment for prisoners with alcohol and drug related issues.

The unit teaches prisoners about addiction, change, relapse and the effect of their actions upon others. The aim of the programme is to reduce re-offending by assisting participants to address their dependence on alcohol and other drugs.

Mothers with babies

A small number of women give birth while serving a sentence and others have young children at the time of sentencing.

Mothers with children under the age of 24 months may be able to continue caring for their child in one of the mothers with babies units.

Feeding and bonding areas also give mothers in the wider prison population the ability to spend time with their young child.

Also see this booklet New Beginnings - Mothers with Babies Unit which was developed to explain the options mothers who have babies or who will give birth in prison have to care for and bond with their children and this evaluation of Mothers with Babies Units from 2013. Formative Evaluation of the Mothers with Babies Units (2013).