Corrections Works September 2013

From our Chief Executive

Chief Executive Ray Smith. Welcome to the first edition of the all new Corrections Works.

Corrections Works is the Department of Corrections’ quarterly publication featuring highlights from right across our services.

The new title, Corrections Works, reinforces that at the heart of Corrections is the surety that what we do here works. We know that keeping people secure is not enough, we have to invest in turning people’s lives around and reducing re-offending. Rehabilitation works, giving people an education works, providing new skills to get a job works, drug and alcohol treatment works, the support and programmes we provide to tens of thousands of people each year works. It’s not easy. In fact, at times it can seem nearly impossible. Some of the offenders we work with are very damaged, manipulative and dangerous people. But we must never write people off. For each and every offender there is a chance that one day we will make the breakthrough that will help them turn away from a life of violence and crime.

Corrections does work. On the back page we meet Chef Martin Bosley who has spent the last nine months tutoring six prisoners at Rimutaka Prison in the essential skills required for working in a restaurant kitchen. The culmination of Martin’s coaching was an event called Prison Gate to Plate, which saw the team prepare a four-course haute cuisine meal for 205 dinner guests at the prison over three nights.

Martin has since taken on one of the prisoners in his own restaurant as part of our Release to Work programme. Beginning as a kitchen hand doing three days a week, the man is now working six days a week, carrying out more advanced jobs like preparing entrees. A great outcome like this wouldn’t have been possible without the fabulous support of Martin Bosley, the on-going support of the team at Corrections and, of course, the hard work of the prisoner himself.

Let us know if you have any ideas about stories that you’d like to see in upcoming issues. You can email  

Ray Smith
Chief Executive

Working Prisons

 Instructor Andrew Feltell training prisoners construction skills.

 Instructor Andrew Feltell training prisoners construction skills.

Lee (not his real name), 41, has spent his life in and out of prison. He left school at 14 when his family moved for the 14th time – a move for every year of his life. He’s only ever had occasional unskilled work. But these days, in the Working Prisons trial at Rolleston Prison in Christchurch, Lee starts work at 8:30am under the tutelage of Carpentry Instructor Andrew Feltell.

Andrew’s teaching him how to use power tools, read building plans and dozens of other highly sought-after construction skills. Currently, Andrew’s showing Lee and the 14 other ‘yard crew’ how to put a new roof on a shed. The yard crew will soon increase to 40 as they’re set to refurbish 150 Housing New Zealand houses over the next five years, helping with the rebuild of Christchurch.

Work includes formal study. With Andrew’s help, Lee’s working towards a Carpentry Gateway National Certificate. Lee finishes work at around 3:00pm, and studies in his cell after lock-up. It’ll take him around three months to get his certificate, and then Corrections will help him find a job on the outside through the Release to Work programme. Research shows that prisoners with a good job to go to are less likely to re-offend – and Lee now has high hopes for a better future.

Training in horticulture.

Hera (not her real name), 30, is a prisoner at Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility (ARWCF), which is also implementing the Working Prisons approach. Hera’s working day starts at 9:30am when she goes to work / study at the prison’s Horticulture Training Facility under the guidance of Horticulture Instructor Marian Jones. With Marian’s help, Hera recently graduated with both level 2 and level 3 National Certificates in Horticulture. At the graduation, an ex-prisoner from ARWCF who now runs a gardening and lawn-mowing business came to speak about her success and Hera is fired up to follow the same path. She’s hoping to continue her study with a level 4 certificate through the Open Polytech and then go into business with her mum and dad.
Lee and Hera are just two of the hundreds of prisoners who are transforming their lives as part of the Working Prisons trial.

Corrections began the Working Prisons trial in December 2012 at three sites – Rolleston, Tongariro/Rangipo Prison, and ARWCF. The aim is to transform the sites until all prisoners are engaged in a structured 40-hour week, working, studying, and attending rehabilitation programmes.

Working Prisons Project Adviser Peter Howe says the Working Prisons' approach is challenging but welcomed by staff and prisoners alike.

“By October, with the opening of a new refurbishment yard, all 260 prisoners at Rolleston will be engaged in structured 40-hour weeks. At ARWCF and Tongariro/Rangipo, the picture is positive, with steady growth in the number of prisoners engaged in employment, education or rehabilitation programmes,” he says.

In July 2013, Corrections started rolling the Working Prisons concept out to all prisons across the country.

It’s not just the three trial ‘Working Prisons’ sites that are keeping prisoners busy learning skills that’ll help them turn their lives around; all our prisons have a wide range of employment, education and rehabilitation programmes.

All Prisons Working Hard

Employment plus

Research shows that prisoners with a job to go to on release are less likely to re-offend. Around 60 percent of all sentenced prisoners participate in employment training. Our 300 offender employment instructors don’t just teach job skills, they help prisoners gain recognised trade qualifications, and most embed literacy and numeracy into their training. In 2011/12 prisoners gained 3,145 qualifications.

teaching prisoners to read and write helps them turn their lives around.

Teaching prisoners to read and write helps them turn their lives around.

Reading, writing and maths

All prisoners are assessed for literacy and numeracy needs (70 percent have difficulty reading and writing) and are encouraged to access education. In 2011-12, 2,103 prisoners did literacy/numeracy training.


In 2011/12, over 5,000 prisoners started a rehabilitation programme, and 907 attended a Drug Treatment Unit.

Meet Programme Facilitator Anya Sadykova

Programme Facilitator Anya Sadykova.

Imagine yourself in a room with 10 prisoners – it’s your job to run a rehabilitation programme for them. You’ll challenge their attitudes, help them to tell deeply personal stories, teach them new ways of thinking, and motivate them to change. Anya Sadykova, one of Corrections’ 171 programme facilitators, does this every day.

Anya and her co-facilitator Monique Watson are currently delivering a Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme (MIRP) to ten male prisoners for two-and-a-half hours, four times a week, for 13 weeks. It’s just one of the extensive range of programmes Corrections runs in our prisons and communities.

The MIRP programme helps participants learn to control their thoughts and behaviour. It targets a wide range of rehabilitation needs including: changing attitudes that support offending, examining feelings, substance abuse, criminal associates, violence, poor self-control and relationship difficulties. Anya and Monique must also run the programme in a culturally responsive way.

The day begins with Anya and Monique going straight to the prison. Once through the prison’s security procedures (much like in an airport) they set up the room before the prisoners arrive. All programme facilitators must record each session on DVD so it can be reviewed by their supervisor.
Depending on the topics they are covering, and the prisoners’ moods, the session could run smoothly or be challenging.

“Some sessions are emotionally charged because we ask them to use their own experiences and emotions to look into their behaviour and gain insight,” says Anya.

She recalls one session where participants were asked to talk about their emotions. One prisoner refused. Anya used motivational interviewing skills, acknowledging his difficulty and normalising his hesitancy. Later he revealed how, as a child, whenever he expressed emotions, adults around him consistently dismissed them. But the non-judgemental and safe environment Anya and Monique had created helped him to come forward, and he inspired other group members to do the same.

Anya’s afternoon is varied. Sometimes she will run another short programme (such as the Short Motivational Programme). She may hold ‘catch up’ sessions with offenders, or discuss the morning’s sessions with her colleagues. “We review our performance and de-brief the session with each other. This helps us to recognise what was going on in the group room and develop approaches for next time.”

“Once a week we have a supervision session, and meet with a cultural supervisor to discuss our practice. These appointments give us feedback and advice on how we’re running the sessions, what we’re doing well and what we could do differently,” says Anya.

At the end of the programme, each participant develops a ‘safety plan’ that identifies risks linked to their offending, gives practical ways to manage them and alternatives to offending. Then the prisoners move onto a Maintenance Programme that helps them practise new behaviour and use the skills they’ve learned from Anya – and other Corrections staff – to avoid offending in the future. And Anya and Monique start again, with the next ten prisoners. 

Breaking the Cycle

A programme at Matapuna Special Treatment Unit.

Matapuna Special Treatment Unit at Christchurch Men's Prison aims to break the cycle of prisoners  at high-risk of violent re-offending.

It’s hard to break old habits – especially habits that have been ingrained since childhood. Our prisons and communities are full of people whose ‘old habits’ have landed them in trouble again and again. Corrections gives offenders work training and education opportunities, but how else do we go about breaking the cycle of re-offending?

“A key way we create change is by providing rehabilitation programmes, especially for those most likely to re-offend. Our programmes motivate offenders to change, and help them address the causes of their offending. They learn to solve problems and make better decisions,” says Chief Psychologist Nikki Reynolds.

Of the 24 programmes we offer in prisons and the community, over half are designed in-house by psychologists to meet the specific requirements of our offenders. Some ‘popular’ programmes include the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme (see story on facing page), the Kowhiritanga rehabilitation programme for women, and drug and alcohol programmes. All programmes are culturally responsive and incorporate tikanga Maori.

The programme ‘list’ changes with demand. “We have a process of continuous improvement,” says Nikki. “A new programme may take up to two years to develop and it all begins with identifying the gap. We look at our own experience, statistics and trends, what’s happening internationally, and we review literature.”

“When we’ve identified a gap, we pull together information about what’s worked here and overseas. Often we’ll involve universities and the international community of psychologists to share ideas and knowledge before developing a programme unique to New Zealand.”

Tai Aroha is Corrections’ most recent programme. It’s a 14-16 week live-in programme for high-risk male offenders on community sentences and has been offered since 2011.

“Tai Aroha came about because judges got more options to give community-based sentences to higher risk offenders. And at the time we had very few suitable community programmes for the highest risk offender group.”

Two new programmes are also on the horizon. One is aimed at stopping prisoners serving short sentences from committing greater offences that lead to longer sentences. The other is re-developing a treatment programme for prisoners in the high risk unit at Auckland Prison.

Nikki says that well-designed and delivered programmes can reduce re-offending by 20%. “Not all our programmes
achieve this because it takes time to break old habits and form new ones, and we’re not always going to achieve it the first time with every offender.”

Hawke's Bay Regional Prison Maori Focus Unit

Our photo essay gives you insights into daily life at the Maori Focus Unit at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison.

Please click on the PDF (281KB) of the photo essay to see the printed version.

The unit hums with activity as prisoners study, recite their whakapapa, do employment training, learn weaving or carving, attend restorative justice meetings, and go to whanau engagement meetings and rehabilitation programmes such as drug and alcohol programmes, or the Maori Therapeutic Programme.

Corrections has five Maori Focus Units, each with 60 beds, in prisons across the country. All of them are run as communities with tikanga Maori values at their core and a whânau-centric approach. An improvement project begun last year is positioning the units as ‘the elite environment where we will reduce re-offending by 30 percent by 2017’ (5% higher than Corrections’ overall goal). Units run programmes that are designed and delivered by Maori using Maori cultural frameworks, and building on Corrections’ own evidence about what works for Maori offenders.

From our Minister

Hon Anne TolleyWe have a justice sector that is delivering great results for New Zealand communities.Crime has fallen in each of the last three years and is down by a total of 16.7 percent. At the same time, re-offending is down by 10.6 percent.There are now thousands of fewer victims of crime in our country.

But we want crime down even further, and to do that we need to tackle gangs. We know that gangs are at the heart of organised crime. They are more sophisticated, and we know they are now working together to make profits out of other people’s misery. It’s estimated that there are over 3,000 patched gang members, and that around a third of prisoners belong to gangs.

They intimidate communities, manufacture and distribute drugs and are responsible for much of the crime in New Zealand.

So I believe it’s time to explore a long-term approach on how to stop young people from joining gangs, support members to exit these criminal organisations and strengthen law enforcement.

I recently embarked on a visit to Los Angeles and New York to speak to agencies there such as the LAPD, NYPD, FBI, New York Gang Investigators Association and the New York Department of Corrections – to investigate the strategies they have in place and to visit some great work being done on the ground.

Police can’t do this on their own. Agencies here, led by Police, have already started working together to combine intelligence and assess initiatives already in place. This work includes Corrections, Justice, Ministry of Social Development, Education, Health, Customs and Inland Revenue.

There is no quick-fix to this issue, and our next step is to develop some practical and targeted ideas which can have an impact in the years ahead.

Hon Anne Tolley 

Spotlight on Volunteers

Vern Pullan is one of the longest-serving volunteers at Hawke's Bay Regional Prison. Vern Pullan recognised

Vern Pullan has been volunteering at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison for more than 20 years as part of the Napier Christian Fellowship and Prison Fellowship.

He was recognised at a volunteers’ award ceremony recently for the work he does in encouraging prisoners to face their offending and look for other pathways in life.

Always thinking of new approaches, Vern has recently developed music sessions for the Sunday church service, which appeals to the younger prisoners.

What makes him stand out is his support of the other volunteers in his group. “They view him very much as their mentor; they look to him for direction and he gives them a lot of support in what they do,” says Volunteer Co-ordinator Vicky Mavin.

Howard League volunteer Coralie Curtis helps a prisoner to read. Sharing the joy of reading

The New Zealand Howard League for Penal Reform started a pilot literacy programme at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison in early 2012 which has been so successful it is now running at Hawke’s Bay, Rimutaka, Manawatu, Spring Hill Corrections Facility and is about to start at Auckland Prison.

The Howard League recruits mainly retired teachers as volunteers to come into the prisons and work with individual prisoners with limited reading ability, over twelve weeks. At the end of the programme the prisoner is able to read a children’s book which is recorded onto a CD and the book and CD recording are sent to the prisoner’s family.

At the end of the programme there is often a graduation where the prisoners are presented with certificates. Often the prisoner’s family attends the graduation creating an opportunity, and a special moment, when the prisoner reads the book to his child for the first time.

For the volunteers there is pleasure in sharing the joy of reading and seeing the men’s progress. “The look on the prisoners’ faces when they realise they can read is a wonderful moment,” says National Adviser Volunteers Barbara Jennings.

Since it began, over 30 prisoners have started the programme.

Regional Highlights

Read what's been happening around the country at Corrections.

Wellington on a (Prison) Plate

Chef Martin Bosley tutoring prisoners at Rimutaka Prison while cooking for the Wellington on a Plate culinary festival.

Chef Martin Bosley tutoring prisoners at Rimutaka Prison while cooking for the Wellington on a Plate culinary festival.

Celebrity Chef Martin Bosley has found much talent in his prisoner/catering students at Rimutaka Prison. He tutored six prisoners who cooked a high-end menu for paying guests as part of the Wellington on a Plate culinary festival in August 2013.

One prisoner had sole charge of a beef fillet dish. “On the night, he was in charge of tying it up and roasting it to perfection. He’s really good,” says Martin who, in his own words, has turned a full 360° after working with the prisoners since November 2012.

“The whole experience has been quite different to what I expected. My views on prison and prisoners and rehabilitation have completely changed.” Martin admits he used to think three meals a day in prison was ‘two too many’.

Asked for his views on the usual prison menu, he has no criticisms. “It is what it has to be; it’s healthy, nutritious, low sodium, low fat and yet it only costs $4.50 a day to feed a prisoner. And it’s fresh.” He points to a stack of crates of fresh oranges in the prison kitchen.

Martin has been surprised by the passion of the Corrections staff who work with the prisoners. “They don’t just come to work for work, they really want to make a difference.”

Rimutaka Prison Principal Catering Instructor Mark Gill says as well as teaching the men the skills of high-end catering, Martin taught them how to do different things with everyday ingredients. For example, the prisoners were amazed when Martin used some plain sausages destined for a prison dinner and turned them into stuffing for a chicken roll.

For one who appreciates all things culinary, Martin has a new-found sense of what a loss of freedom means in prison. “For me, not being able to go to the fridge whenever I want, or not fancying what was on the menu for dinner and being unable to create an alternative, would be such a cruel punishment.”

Martin believes some of his students have the potential for a career in the catering industry. The NZQA qualifications they all work towards go a long way towards preparing them for a job on release. At the same time as Martin was meeting reporters and photographers for the Wellington on a Plate event, in another corner of the busy kitchen, two prisoners were having their cooking checked by external assessors, for the catering qualification they are working towards.

“A man with a job can feed his family, but a man who can cook can nourish his family,” says Martin.