Corrections News Mar-Apr 2012

Chief Executive's comment

 Executive Ray SmithThis month I joined one of our Advanced Control & Restraint (ACR) teams doing its annual three-day training. ‘Advanced’ means they are specially selected and trained to deal with major incidents such as riots and can be deployed anywhere in the country at short notice.

I spent a day with the team and observed them using advanced negotiation skills, performing their baton routines, undertaking a rapid response to a prisoner disturbance and learning about the use and effects of pepper spray. The discipline that is associated with applying the routines I’m describing cannot be underestimated, and you could only feel an incredible sense of pride in the men and women who put themselves forward to be members of the ACR crew. I was impressed at their unbelievable level of fitness and even more impressed by the way the team worked together.

Working together more effectively is something we will be focusing on a lot this year. One thing we will be doing more of is working together as one team, both within Corrections and outside Corrections. We will forge better partnerships with agencies and specialist groups, and work in unison with the Police and other parts of the Justice Sector to tackle crime and re-offending head-on.

In March the Government announced its key priorities and one of these is bringing down the rate of re-offending. It’s great to see that one of Corrections’ main priorities is being given such prominence by the Government. Because the simple truth is that if we can turn people away from a life of crime when they are in our care, if we can give them a chance at a better life outside the wire, then we are contributing to a New Zealand that is a safer and more enjoyable place to live.

Corrections already does a lot of rehabilitation work that makes a real difference for people when they leave prison. But there is still a lot more that can be done. We’ll be looking at the work we do now and exploring ways that we can change and improve in order to have the biggest impact on recidivism rates. Having the right facilities is a key factor in successful rehabilitation. On 22 March I released a proposal for changing the current set-up for our prisons and over the next month I will be seeking feedback from staff and unions during a period of consultation. The proposal includes the refurbishment of Auckland and Invercargill Prisons, the closure of New Plymouth and Wellington Prisons, and the closure of units within Arohata, Rolleston, Tongariro/Rangipo and Waikeria Prisons. If you are interested in more details about this, email

Ray Smith

News in brief

Senior Corrections Officer Darren Whetton set a new record rowing 279,217 metres.Prisoners at Whanganui Prison gave back to their community and learnt about healthy lifestyles at the same time while attempting rowing records in support of the Cancer Society in an event called Row-lay.

  • a prisoner set a new record for the Longest Continuous Row Men’s, 30-39 years, Lightweight, of 24 hours and 7 minutes, rowing 248,011 metres. The previous record was 14 hours and 6 minutes.
  • two staff members set a new record for the Tandem Longest Continuous Row Men’s, 30-39 years, of 24 hours and 4 minutes, rowing 279,217 metres. There was no previous record for this age category.

“The two staff members donated their own time to the event, demonstrating the integrity and empathy for others that they want to encourage with the prisoners,” says Whanganui Prison Manager Ngaire Knowles.

Two prisoners attempted the Tandem Men’s 20-29 years, 24-hour row. While not quite achieving the record of 348,809 metres, the prisoners pulled an impressive 325,615 metres.

A 10-man 24-hour continuous relay team rowed, in shifts of 30 minutes, a distance of 340,029 metres.

“So far the Row-lay has raised $778.50 for the Cancer Society. We are grateful to two local businesses, Eastbrook Food Market and Hill Street Greens, who donated fruit and muesli bars to keep the rowers going. Thanks also to Concept2 Rowing for supplying hats, water bottles and t-shirts for the event,” says Ngaire.

Using modern technology to manage offenders

Using modern technology like iPads and BlackBerries will make probation officers more mobile and flexible.On 1 February, Community Probation Services (CPS) launched the latest phase in its Modernisation programme. The aim of this initiative is to build a more effective and responsive service that keeps public safety and reduced re-offending at its heart while delivering value for money.

The three-month Integrated Pilot involves staff across Waitematä, Hamilton, and Dunedin/Invercargill Areas. It combines some critical elements of the CPS Vision for a modern future that have previously been tested on a smaller scale around the country.

General Manager Katrina Casey says the Integrated Pilot comes at a busy time for all staff but their involvement is vital to help assess whether the changes we’re making will make a difference.

“Many of the ideas we’re trialling came from consultation with frontline staff and their ongoing involvement is the key to a successful pilot. Once we’ve evaluated the results we’ll make some decisions about which, if any, concepts we’ll pursue.

“We want to be sure that whatever we take forward brings meaningful gains in efficiency and effectiveness to reduce re-offending and make New Zealand safer.”

These elements include mobilising probation officers with technologies such as iPads, BlackBerries, laptops and portable printers, testing flexible work arrangements to give offenders easier access to our services, and testing remote report-ins for selected low risk offenders who have complied with their sentences.

Another measure we’ve tried with some success is using text messages to remind offenders of community work and other appointments with CPS and other service providers. CPS is looking at centralising some of the administrative functions for community detention (the sentence that puts offenders under electronically monitored curfews).

One of the most visible changes we’re trialling is a new front of house design in selected service centres where refurbishment was already underway to enhance engagement with offenders and their families, while enhancing staff safety. The first of our sites to feature these changes are in Papakura, Paeroa and Hamilton. (see page 4 to read more about new service centres).

To improve staff safety on the road we’re trialling the installation of GPS navigation and personal duress alarms in cars. Staff will know that should they face a threatening situation while they are working in the community requiring immediate backup, then emergency services are only a click of a button away.

Staff safety important feature in new Probation Service centres

Officiating at the Papakura Service Centre opening in February 2012; (L-R) Area Manager Darius Fagan, Auckland City Councillor Calum Penrose, Chief Executive Ray Smith, Senior Adviser Mäori Des Ripi, Hon Judith Collins, Kaumatua Brian Joyce.New Community Probation Services sites have been opened, or are due to open shortly.

The Papakura Service Centre was opened on 10 February to a crowd of over 40 people. The Hon Judith Collins opened the building on behalf of our new Minister Hon Anne Tolley. Also in attendance were Auckland City Councillors Calum Penrose and Sir John Walker, a number of local councillors, representatives from partner agencies, community groups and service providers.

In his address, Chief Executive Ray Smith talked about the imperative of staff safety and the issues of limited visibility in interview rooms and therefore the feelings of vulnerability working in such an enclosed environment. “I’ve always made a point of prioritising staff safety. It’s also important that offenders feel comfortable, and this helps with their rehabilitation.”

Needless to say, plenty of glass and more visible meeting rooms are the norm for this new site, which brings two former sites together: Rushgreen Ave and Porchester Road.

Minister Collins’ speech was inspirational for the staff in attendance. “I want to say to you just how important your role is. If the community does not have confidence in what we do, we end up locking up more offenders. And that is a huge cost, not only to the taxpayer but to the families, whänau and the community in general. So we must maintain the sorts of levels of excellence that you’ve been obtaining, because your work is unbelievably vital.”

The Otara service centre is due to formally open in April or early May.

The sites in Paeroa and Hamilton were officially opened by the Minister, Hon Anne Tolley, on 13 March.

“Congratulations on the excellent work that you’ve been doing … I’ve certainly been immensely thrilled with the work that you’ve done in the last three years.” Hon Judith Collins

News in brief

Onehunga Community Link centre.Two offenders attended a 10-week short rehabilitation programme at the local Community Link in Onehunga rather than at the Community Probation Services (CPS) centre. Community Links
are located throughout the country and are a social services hub for a range of agencies such as Work and Income, Housing NZ, Career Services and Budget Advice Services.

The offenders found it easy to access as the centre is near the Onehunga township, close to local transport routes and were able to access other services before and after attending the programme. This included access to the free internet service and quick links to accommodation, employment and education support. The offenders said it was nice to be away from other offenders at the CPS centre, particularly as female offenders who felt safer in a neutral, private environment.

Principal Facilitator Susan Nicoll said staff at the Community Link were pleasantly surprised after their preconceptions about their safety being at risk were quickly dispelled through their positive interactions with those attending the programme.

Bergen Conference on the Treatment of Psychopathy

Bergen, Norway (pictured) was the location of a conference Dr Nick Wilson attended on the treatment of psychopathy; “It is only through sharing knowledge that we can improve the way we treat and manage violent psychopaths.”For Corrections National Adviser Research Dr Nick Wilson, the highlight of the 2nd Bergen Conference on the Treatment of Psychopathy was hearing recognised world authorities confirm that our treatment and management of violent psychopaths is valuable.

Nick gave a well-received plenary talk at the conference entitled ‘Beating the odds: Desistance pathways for psychopathic offenders based on long term follow-up studies in New Zealand’. He also gave a presentation on the risk assessment tool DRAOR (Dynamic Risk Assessment Offender Re-entry)1.

Nick says the concepts of DRAOR seem to apply equally well in Norway.

“The invitation for me to speak at the conference recognised the value of Corrections’ research efforts in New Zealand over the last 10 years into how best to help high risk offenders, who are psychopathic, to desist from serious re-offending after release,” says Nick.

Nick says he found the closing address by Stephen Hart particularly interesting. He compared psychopathy with schizophrenia, noting that the conditions both affect around 1 – 2 percent of the population, but while schizophrenia attracts hundreds of millions of research dollars, psychopathy – which has a much greater impact in terms of human harm and economic costs – only receives around ten million research dollars a year in the USA. Dr Hart challenged participants to make a stand on this issue.

The conference was well attended, with around 360 participants from 20 countries.

Nick says his participation at the conference provided an opportunity to learn about other research initiatives to manage and treat similar offenders. “It is only through sharing such knowledge that we can make further improvements in the way we treat and manage violent psychopaths.”

Nick’s trip to Norway was paid for by the organisers. They have invited him back to speak at the next conference in three years’ time, when he will have new research to talk about, in part based on learnings from this trip.

For more information on the conference including abstracts visit the conference website.

1 DRAOR is a tool used to assess the ‘dynamic’ risk of community–based offenders. It focuses on an individual’s likelihood of re-offending and the risk of harm to others.

What's new in the literature: Probation officers make a difference

Probation and parole are important components of modern criminal justice systems, and there is now overwhelming evidence that adhering to the principles of risk, need and responsivity brings about reductions in downstream recidivism. Despite this, there has been a comparative dearth of research concerning training of probation officers in the application of those well-established best practice principles.

In a just-published significant study, James Bonta and colleagues1 evaluate the impact of providing probation officers with training in these best practice principles. They then evaluate the impact of that training on their interactions with clients, and also on the resultant downstream recidivism of those clients.

This investigation sought probation officers to volunteer to participate in this research, and assigned one group of volunteers to a training package which focussed on the skills necessary to engage their clients, appropriate behaviour within sessions, and the identification and targeting of criminogenic factors exhibited by their clients.

The research focused on the in-session behaviour of probation officers and it was found that the group of officers who had received this training demonstrated superior skills in engaging their clients, and also manifested increased use of cognitive behavioural principles in their discussions. Additionally, significantly more time was spent discussing the well-established criminogenic factors for the trained group than the untrained control group of probation officers, with the exception of the area of education/employment.

Finally, follow-up of recidivism for the clients of these two groups demonstrated, when age and criminal history risk factors were controlled for, that those probation officers who had received this training had clients who re-offended at a rate which was 15 percent less than the recidivism rate for the clients of the untrained (control) group of probation officers. Significantly, this 15 percent reduction in recidivism rate is roughly comparable to the reductions in recidivism which have been reported elsewhere in ‘real world’ evaluations of the application of these principles in treatment outcome investigations.

This finding is significant, as it is the first of its kind, employed a reasonably robust methodology, and does indicate that staff working within a context which rightly emphasises control and sentence compliance can have a level of influence on recidivism which is comparable to that achieved in much more specialised (and potentially much more expensive) programmes.

A study has shown that probation officers who have been trained in best practice principles can have a positive influence on offender re-offending rates. Over the last two and half years Community Probation Services (CPS) in New Zealand has implemented significant change in how probation officers work with offenders. Probation officers now make professional decisions with offenders based on dynamic risk assessments completed at each contact. As a consequence, more time and effort is directed at those offenders who pose a greater likelihood of re-offending and risk of harm to others. Moving forward, there are plans to increase the range of practice tools and interventions they can use with offenders.

CPS has introduced practice leaders who build the skills of all staff to develop practice skills which make a difference with all offenders. The success of this redesign and approach to managing offenders is supported by a reduction in the re-offending and imprisonment rates of community-based offenders, as reported in the latest Department of Corrections Annual Report.

1 Bonta J., Bourgon G., Rugge T., Scott T., Yessine A., Gutterrez L., and Li J. (2011), An experimental demonstration of training probation officers in evidence-based community supervision, Criminal Justice and Behaviour, 38, 1127-1148.

Prisoner employment showcased at Hawke's Bay

Visitors on a walking tour at Hawke's Bay Regional Prison.Guests at Hawke's Bay Regional Prison were advised to wear comfortable walking shoes for an interactive tour of the prison, hosted by staff from Corrections and including our colleagues from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and the NZ Police.

Working together to make our communities safer was the theme of the open day on 10 February 2012. It was attended by over 130 invited guests, representing a diverse range of employers and community organisations.

Public safety is Corrections’ top priority, immediately evident to the guests, who on arrival at the site underwent standard prison entry security procedures, a first time for many. Maintaining a secure environment is fundamental to keeping visitors, staff, prisoners and the wider community safe.

“The tour provided an ideal opportunity to increase awareness of the work undertaken with offenders and enabled Corrections, NZ Police and MSD to engage in a positive hands on way with the community,” says Prisoner Employment Project Manager Michele Lynskey.

Guests were able to explore innovative ways to work together to support prisoners, both inside the prison and following their release. Well supported prisoners are less likely to re-offend and effective partnerships between government and community agencies assist to reduce re-offending, making our communities safer.

Corrections’ strong focus on rehabilitation and reintegration was emphasised throughout the tour. Guests had an opportunity to visit a Drug Treatment Unit and to talk about programmes provided by Corrections that assist prisoners to actively address factors that contributed to their offending. A tour of Te Whare Oranga Ake reintegration units also provided an insight into the work Corrections, with our partner, Choices, is doing to successfully reintegrate prisoners. The kaupapa Mäori environment at Whare Oranga Ake, strengthens the cultural identity of Mäori participants and along with employment training gives them the skills to live crime-free lives.

Guests experienced a wide range of prison activities and saw first-hand prisoners engaged in employment training in joinery, timber, grounds maintenance, laundry
and kitchens. Providing opportunities for prisoners to gain qualifications and skills to enhance their prospects of gaining sustainable post release employment helps to reduce re-offending. Support for this from community organisations is vital. The guests were encouraged to think about ways they could enhance prisoners’ prospects by providing opportunities for employment training or by supporting Release to Work and post release employment.

The visitors watched a demonstration of bicycle repairs for the community, a local initiative between the prison and Hastings District Council.

Lunch was provided by Corrections Inmate Employment (CIE) catering, during which the guests networked with Corrections, Police and MSD staff, to discuss the issues faced by prisoners returning to the community. Also discussed were ways to enhance the working relationships with agencies and organisations that sponsor community work.

MSD (Work and Income) representative Dave Caldwell was on hand to engage with local employers and provided information about employer subsidies as an incentive to employ released prisoners.

Through tours such as this, Corrections demonstrates how it places prisoners at the centre of its efforts through education and trade training.

Pre-employment drug testing at Corrections

 drug-free zone imageWhen working with offenders Corrections staff must act with integrity and give the public every reason to have confidence in us. A number of measures have been introduced recently to strengthen Corrections’ recruitment processes. These include Police vetting, which replaces the Ministry of Justice Criminal Check for front-line roles. The vetting asks all applicants to declare any conflicts of interest like criminal and gang affiliations. Another aspect is running credit checks on candidates for roles that carry financial risk to Corrections.

The Strengthening Integrity programme is designed to help Corrections’ workforce meet the high standard of professional conduct that is expected. The programme covers pre-employment screening, performance, and training and coaching.

From February 2012, external job applicants who are preferred candidates, or who are offered roles, will be asked to do a drug test. The drug-testing policy covers all new prospective staff including permanent and fixed term employees, casual staff and contractors (contracting directly to the Department). It will not cover volunteers or current staff changing roles within the Department.

In doing this, we join other New Zealand organisations – including, Transpower, Kiwi Rail, Aviation Security Service, and Air New Zealand – who require new job applicants to do a drug test.

The tests are carried out by external providers, and will take the form of urine tests. The Department pays for the cost of the test. If the applicant passes they can take up their position. If they fail, or refuse to do the test, they will not be offered any position.

To be a successful organisation, the public must be able to have confidence in us and expect staff who manage offenders to be positive role models – showing offenders that there are better ways to live their lives. Drug testing for potential new employees will help ensure we employ only those people who will uphold our standards.

New ways of providing pre-sentence advice to the judiciary

Community Probation Services has been revamping the pre-sentence advice that probation officers provide to the courts to support sentencing, known as Provision of Advice to Courts (PAC).

The advent of PAC signifies a fundamental redesign to the way pre-sentence advice is provided to the Judiciary. Under PAC, probation officers writing pre-sentence reports undertake more robust assessments of compliance, likelihood of re-offending and risk of harm to support appropriate recommendations to the court. PAC incorporates a greater emphasis on public safety and a strong focus on engagement with the offender and their whänau from first contact. The new reports are designed to be flexible enough to better meet the needs of the courts and justice sector, now and in the future.

PAC was implemented first in Wellington/Wairarapa and Hamilton on 1 November 2011, giving both internal and external stakeholders in these pilot areas the opportunity to provide feedback on the new reports. Project Lead Jon Burke says that the feedback in the pilot areas has been very positive. “The Judiciary have been welcoming of PAC and we’ve received many favourable comments from the bench about the more targeted nature of the new reports, which is great. Many Judges have also welcomed the ability to have reports completed on the day the report is ordered, where appropriate. This means the same Judge can sentence the offender which reduces delays in the court process and ensures the offender begins any treatment that is ordered more quickly.”

After the successful implementation in the pilot areas, PAC is now being implemented nationwide and staff have been undertaking training in preparation. PAC regional support people have been nominated in each area of the country to liaise with internal and external stakeholders and spread the word about the new reports.

Psychologist registration programme gets formal accreditation

Programme Facilitator Julie Aitken is half-way towards gaining full registration as a psychologist through the Department’s Supervision to Registration programme.Corrections’ Supervision to Registration Programme for psychologists has been given formal accreditation by the New Zealand Psychologists Board for up to seven years from 16 January 2012.

Acting National Manager Special Treatment Unit Development, and Programme Director, Glen Kilgour, says Corrections is the first organisation in New Zealand, apart from a university, to have our programme accredited by the Board.

“It’s a tremendous achievement. Accreditation means the Board assures that the programme meets certain standards. A good deal of the credit must go to Steve Berry (currently Southern Regional Manager, Rehabilitation and Reintegration Services) and the principal psychologists who got the programme started in 2008, and all those who spend time giving programme participants clinical supervision,” he says.

To work in New Zealand, psychologists must be registered with the Psychologists Board.

“Traditionally, psychologists gain their registration through successful completion of a post-graduate clinical programme at a university. But since 2008, trainee psychologists working under close supervision in Corrections’ Special Treatment Units have been able to gain full registration through our Supervision to Registration Programme. Until now, though, our programme had only provisional accreditation,” says Director Psychological Services Nikki Reynolds.

Corrections employs up to 140 psychologists, making us one of the largest employers of psychologists in the country – and recruiting can be difficult.

“It was especially difficult back in 2008 when we set the programme up because we had the challenge of staffing three new Special Treatment Units. I’d like to acknowledge Bev Burns, a clinical psychologist from Hamilton, who worked with me to develop the framework of the programme,” says Steve Berry (then National Manager Special Treatment Units, and Programme Director).

“Running the registration programme makes us more attractive to those high quality students who are not in the post-graduate university diploma programmes and who want to work while gaining registration. The programme will benefit Corrections because we end up with well-trained, knowledgeable staff who have a particular interest in correctional matters.”

Since 2008, four trainee psychologists from our Special Treatment Units have gained their full registration through the Corrections programme. A fifth has provisional approval to begin the programme, and a sixth, Programme Facilitator Julie Aitken, from Puna Tatari Special Treatment Unit, is currently about half-way through.

“It’s challenging on both a professional and personal level, but it’s so rewarding being able to work and study at the same time. I particularly enjoy the fact that you can apply what you’ve learned instantly,” says Julie.

Applicants for the programme must have a minimum of a Masters degree in psychology. The programme has challenging entry criteria and entails 1,500 hours of supervised practice, six assignments, completing a daily work portfolio, and two oral exams.

Designed, developed, delivered by Maori

Rehabilitation and Reintegration Services Director Mäori Neil Campbell believes the enhanced Mäori Therapeutic Programme (MTP), to be launched in July, fits a government initiative encouraging more activities to be designed, developed and delivered by Mäori.

“All government agencies are striving to do more of this and we are really proud that we have done it,” says Neil speaking of the enhanced MTP.

Importantly, the redesign has been actively supported by the Department’s Psychological Services who are supplying design advice for the development by identifying and resourcing a Mäori psychologist to assist. Most importantly the content of the revision is being written in partnership with the current providers.

“The special thing about the re-write of this programme is it has been designed and developed by Mäori,” says Neil. “We’ve tried as a Department to be more hands-off and allow the innovation of the Mäori community to thrive.” Neil says the Department recognised that the current providers were very experienced with this highly effective programme and if properly supported, it could be revised to enhance its effectiveness.

“Having Mäori revise the programme intended for primarily Mäori participants will ensure the concepts, values and processes can be combined with what we already know works for offender rehabilitation.”

The MTP is a group-based rehabilitation programme, delivered by Mäori service providers/facilitators, for male prisoners with a range of offending needs.

This programme is similar to other rehabilitative programmes developed by the Department for offenders of medium risk of re-offending, but includes a specific Mäori cultural perspective and builds on the foundation provided by the kaupapa of the Mäori Focus Units and Tikanga Mäori Programmes.

The objective of this programme is to teach prisoners how to alter the thoughts, attitudes and behaviours that led to their offending and assist them to develop skills to maintain any positive change.

The programme includes learning and practicing skills in problem solving, new ways of thinking, ways to cope with negative emotions and navigating through relationship stresses. Participants will also construct an offence map, as well as develop a safety plan.

The MTP has been producing some good results, as evidenced in the 2010/2011 Annual Report; offenders who have undergone the MTP have a reconviction
rate 15 percentage points lower than an untreated group over a 12-month follow-up period.

The re-write has produced a longer programme which will allow improved processes and more practice of essential skills.

Another aspect of the programme which hasn’t been done before will see family members come into prison for parts of the programme. “Greater whänau involvement is a core aspect of the programme.”

Plans are underway to deliver the programme more widely. Currently it is only run in the five Mäori Focus Units with the one exception being Northland Region Corrections Facility where it is run in standard prison units.

“The demand is there to introduce the programme in the South Island with a future view to running it in the community for community-based offenders,” says Neil.

News in brief

 Ohaeawai locals after erecting a notice board built by prisoners.The Ohaeawai Taiamai Residence Association (OTRA) is grateful to  two prisoners at Northland Region Corrections Facility (NRCF) who constructed a notice board for their town. Ohaeawai is the nearest small town on the way to the prison.

The notice board will be used to display a map of the area, Bed and Breakfast accommodation, historical sites of interest, the local school newsletter and some of the students’ art as well as notices about community meetings and events.

“The prisoners get a real buzz out of knowing that the construction skills learnt in prison actually work, and that their work is appreciated by those ‘outside’,” says Area Operations Manager Don Robertson.

The prison and the community group are looking forward to working on more projects for the benefit of the community.

Minister's column: Hon Anne Tolley

Hon Anne Tolley, Minister of Corrections Visiting Corrections sites is incredibly important to me as Minister, as they give me the opportunity to chat to Corrections staff on the frontline, and to discuss policies and procedures with people at the sharp end.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to visit Rimutaka Prison, Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility and Mangere Community Probation Service. I found the pride and passion for the job
of the staff at these sites – in what can be extremely difficult environments – heartening.

At the probation service it was clear that great strides have been made over the last couple of years, and a staff member took me through the DRAOR (Dynamic Risk Assessment Offender Re-entry) process. Staff pointed to a more joined-up way of working – with more flexibility based on common knowledge and processes – and this is vital if we are to reduce re-offending.

In the prisons, the overwhelming message I received was the importance of education and work experience in making sure offenders can have a real opportunity to contribute to society and steer clear of re-offending upon their release.

This makes communities safer and relieves the pressure on our justice system.

Prisoners themselves explained to me how they had achieved NCEA Level 2 and were now pushing to sit Level 3.

But these positives have to be seen in context. Right now, far too many prisoners – as many as 90 percent – can’t read or write well. This is partly why they end up in prison in the first place, unable to get a job or function as members of society.

Yes, improvements have been made, and there has been a real focus on teaching literacy and numeracy, alongside work programmes.

But this is an area in which I believe we can make even more progress. I’ve already had discussions with Corrections about how we can do this, because without these basic skills the probability of repeat offending is high.

I am confident that by putting more emphasis on education we can ensure there are fewer victims of crime, and safer communities.


Corrections National Drug Analyst Rachel Williams, is working with the New Zealand Police to deliver Crime Science training to the Police Basic Intelligence Course. Crime science is a proactive and practical approach for understanding and reducing crime. Training involves teaching intelligence staff to identify crime patterns and identify and remove opportunities for crime.

During crisis or hostage situations the Police are able to use information provided by Corrections Operational Intelligence to help them establish a rapport with the offender and try to diffuse the situation. For example, when an offender has recently been released from prison and their sentence has been too short to prompt a psychological (or other) report, there may be no intelligence information relating to them. In such circumstances Police look for any information that will assist them in establishing a rapport with offenders to give them the opportunity to diffuse the situation.

Tongariro/Rangipo Prison Drug Dog Handler Mo Toeke was part of a police operation that resulted in New Zealand’s ‘biggest’ P-lab operation being busted in the Waikato. Rotorua Police asked Mo and his dog Hank to assist in a search warrant on a property. After Police discovered a P-lab on the property, they asked Mo to search other areas of the property where he located numerous illegal substances making it easier for Police to do their job. Another fantastic example of Police and Corrections working well together. 

Know something about a crime but want to remain anonymous?  Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

Community Art Works gets creative

Saying ‘hello’ to the Tin-Man at Nelson Christmas Parade 2011 – mask made by Community Work offenders.A $1,000 grant from Corrections has gone some way towards paying for art materials for Nelson-based Community Art Works, who cater for people with disabilities, disconnected youth and people who experience mental ill-health.

Community work offenders who also may have health issues, be a risk to the community or generally need more management and support, are regulars at the centre. Currently 12 offenders are serving their sentence there, either creating work for the Christmas parade or other council-based activities; or working with and sitting alongside artists to assist them in completing a project.

The creative space is staffed by a number of professional artists; and co-ordinated by Faye Wulff.

Faye says over the last three-four years they’ve had many excellent community work offenders come through their doors. “Many of the offenders become so engrossed in their artwork that they become very much part of the centre.”

“Our staff are really good at encouraging people to lose their inhibitions and be far more creative,” says Faye. She talks about one particular offender who said he had a pretty awful life until he turned up at the centre. “He says we helped him change the way he looked at life, and now he thinks twice about what his limitations are.” Faye never underestimates what difference their influence, and their art, can make on someone’s life. “If I can make a difference for one or two people a year, then that’s fantastic,” she says.

Faye talks about the relationship the centre has with Corrections as being a very fortuitous one. “Our partnership has been very good for us….we can achieve so much more than we ordinarily would.”

“Some offenders you can’t change, but there are a lot you can.”  Faye Wulff, Art Works.