Office of the Inspectorate Reports

The Office of the Inspectorate works to ensure that all prisoners are treated in a way that is fair, safe, secure and humane. The Inspectorate is part of the Department of Corrections, but is operationally independent to ensure objectivity and integrity. It is a critical part of the oversight of the Corrections system and operates under the Corrections Act 2004 and the Corrections Regulations 2005.

The Inspectorate:

  • investigates complaints from prisoners and from offenders in the community
  • monitors situations where there are concerns
  • carries out inspections of prisons
  • investigates all deaths of people in Corrections' custody
  • carries out other investigations where necessary

The Inspectorate is headed by a Chief Inspector and has a team of inspectors who carry out investigations and inspections. It reports back to Corrections with findings and recommendations and aims to work with the Department to make improvements and ensure the good treatment of prisoners.  You can find out more about the work of the Inspectorate on their website here. Reports completed by the Inspectorate, and the Departmental response to those reports is outlined below.

Older prisoners: The lived experience of older people in New Zealand prisons

The past few decades have seen an increase in the number of older prisoners (aged 65 and older) in New Zealand. This demographic shift is largely due to longer prison sentences and increased numbers of people serving sentences for historic sex offences. The numbers are forecast to continue to grow. Older prisoners present a range of mainly health-related issues which require special management to ensure their imprisonment is safe and humane. The prison environment, prisoner regimes and support services are typically designed for younger prisoners. In response to this, many comparable jurisdictions, including England, Scotland and Canada, have developed strategies for the needs of their older prisoner populations.

The Office of the Inspectorate conducted a thematic inspection to provides insight into the current treatment of, and conditions experienced by, older prisoners. It provides the Department of Corrections with an early warning of the risks and challenges associated with managing older prisoners. The Office of the Inspectorate’s full report is available on their website.

The areas examined in depth are: environment, safe and humane treatment, health and wellbeing, purposeful activity, rehabilitation and reintegration, post-release support and staff training. The report found, overall, that older prisoners’ basic needs are generally being met. Most Corrections staff we spoke with and observed demonstrated innovation, care and respectful decision-making. However, there is an increasing demand for prisons to provide care home-type environments for many older prisoners and for staff to support their specific needs.

The report makes one overarching recommendation: that Corrections should develop, appropriately resource, and implement a comprehensive Older Prisoners’ Wellbeing Strategy to respond to the age-related needs of older prisoners.

Corrections has actioned this recommendation through the launch of the Ageing Well Action Plan 2023 – 2026. You can read more about the plan.

Fight Club Reports

The Chief Inspector's Report into circumstances surrounding organised prisoner on prisoner fighting (Fight Clubs) referred to three reports.

The three reports are:

Case review of the management of a prisoner at Auckland Prison and the use of tie-down beds

Download Summary of Corrections Inspectorate case review of the management of a prisoner at Auckland Prison and use of tie-down bed PDF, 27.5 KB

Download Update on recommendations from the Inspectorate PDF, 11.3 KB