Release to Work - a guide for employers

Almost all people in prison will be released into the community at some point.

People who have stable employment are less likely to re-offend. We work with people in prison to prepare them for work, through training, qualifications and on the job experience.

What is Release to Work?

Our Release to Work programme gives people who are near release the opportunity to maintain, develop or re-establish work skills and habits necessary for stable employment by temporarily releasing them during the day to work.

Release to Work employees receive the same rate as other employees at a similar level of skill and experience, and use their wages to pay board to Corrections, any fines or reparation to victims or save for their release.


Public safety is Corrections' absolute priority. People on the Release to Work programme have been assessed by an advisory panel and have shown that they can be trusted and have a desire to be productive members f their communities.

Release to Work employees are monitored with the use of GPS ankle bracelets where possible. If GPS coverage is not available, Corrections works with employers
to design an appropriate monitoring system.

We have the skills and experience you need now.

Our workers cover a wide range of industries and skill sets, and are available now.

Manufacturing, technology and engineeringConstructionServiceFarming, forestry and horticulture
Automotive engineeringBrick and block layingBakeryContract work parties
Furniture making and upholsteryCarpentryBarista skillsFarming; sheep, dairy, pig, and dry stock
Light engineeringCrane operationCatering operationsForestry crews
Mechanical engineeringDevanningDistributionForklift operations
Printing and designElectrical workFood preparation, safety and deliveryGround maintenance
Sheet metal workPainting and decoratingKitchen dutiesHorticulture
Small motorsPlasteringLaundry operationsNursery and organic market gardens
Textiles, sewing and overlockingPlumbing, gas fitting, and drain layingOperation of trolleys and forklifts 
Timber processing and joineryPrecast concretingWarehousing and devanning 
Use of industrial machineryRefurbishment  

Not all industry skills are taught at every prison. Check with your regional employment adviser to see if we have employees that match the skills you need.

Don’t just take our word for it.

Corrections’ employments services and its Offender Recruitment Consultants provide an excellent service, which includes an understanding of our business needs, the criteria, as well as the matching process and profiling of prospective employees. CNI Forest Management Ltd has found the employment relationship with the Department of Corrections to be of great assistance and support in fulfilling our staffing requirements.

Stewart Hyde
Managing Director, CNI
Forest Management Ltd

We are a waste collection and recycling company based in Auckland, and heavily rely on our staff attending work every day. The RTW programme ticks all the boxes for us, and the Corrections staff are great to deal with as well.”

Craig Stuart
Operations Manager
Pink Bin Company Ltd

We have a successful ongoing partnership with Corrections to find staff for our Labour Hire division. Several candidates sent by Corrections have absolutely flourished in their work environments. We also have several examples of candidates put forward by Corrections gaining full time roles with our clients after proving themselves as ‘great team players’ and ‘diligent and studious workers’. We are definitely happy to continue to be a part of what we feel is a successful programme and partnership.

Roydon Shaw
Senior Consultant
RobLawMax Labour Hire

Crasborn Fresh Harvest has been working in partnership with the Department of Corrections for over seven years. Corrections’ employment service provides suitable and capable employees and we have had nothing but good experience and great satisfaction with the employment programme. Communication from the Corrections team has been outstanding and any matters are dealt with very promptly and efficiently. The Department of Corrections has, and will continue to be a very successful source of employees for our company. We believe that with the help of Corrections and its Offender Recruitment team we will continue to offer a second chance in the working world.

Ross Howard
HR Manager
Crasborn Fresh Harvest

Corrections found us a staff member for a position which we had been struggling to fill. Corrections’ Offender Recruitment Consultant listened to our requirements and job description, and then with clear communication, we knew more about the applicant than we do under usual circumstances and he fitted the bill perfectly. He has been nominated for our peer award named ‘Good Bugger’ 5 times! Great staff member, great fit and well done, Corrections.

Ruth Surrey
HR Manager

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I get a say in who is sent to work for me?

Yes. After meeting with you to build a picture of your workplace and the type of person you are looking for, a case manager selects one or more people who have the right skills and attitude. You then get the opportunity to interview the candidates for the role.

What if the person is not a good fit for my team?

This can happen with any employee. In the first instance we will support you to help the person fit in. If this doesn’t work we will place the employee in a new role and work with you to find a new employee.

What happens if there are any problems?

If you have any problems or are feeling uncomfortable, you can contact the case manager assigned to work with you and your employee. Corrections staff are trained to deal with many different situations.

Will employing an offender impact negatively on my business?

Anecdotal evidence from employers we work with does not show this to be the case. Some employers choose not to promote their relationship with Corrections, while others are proud to be seen as doing their part to make their community safer while giving someone a second chance.

What does hiring a Release to Work employee cost?

Release to Work employees are paid the same rate as other workers doing the same job at the same skill level; this must be at least the minimum wage. They are also entitled to the same benefits, work or shift payments as other employees.

What if I only need someone for a few days a week or a short term contract?

The Release to Work programme is designed to fit in with your recruitment needs. Employees are available at short notice and for any length of time you require, from one day to full time.

Can the employee stay with me once they are released?

Yes, in fact over 50% of Release to Work employees stay with their employer once released.

Who can I talk to if I want to know more about Release to Work?

Contact your local Release to Work broker to find out more about our Release to Work programme.


National Office
Employer Partnerships Team
Private Box 1206
Mayfair House, 44-52 The Terrace,
Wellington, 6011
(04) 460 3000

Northern Regional Office
PO Box 11612, Ellerslie
Auckland 1542
Central Corporate Park Centre,
666 Great South Road, Auckland 1061
(09) 306 8350

Central Regional Office
PO Box 9343, Waikato Mail Centre,
Hamilton 3240
Monckton Trust Building, Level 1,
73 Rostrevor St, Hamilton 3240
(07) 839 7560

Lower North Regional Office
Private Box 1206,
Wellington 6140
Mayfair House, 44-52 The Terrace,
Wellington 6011
(04) 460 3000

Southern Regional Office
Private Bag 327,
72 St Asaph Street,
(03) 363 4400