From the General Manager's Office

With this issue of CORRvolunteer we proudly present the new Handbook for Prison Volunteers.
This handbook is part of the revised volunteer induction training that will start soon and a token of how much your activities in our prisons are appreciated!

With the global economic crisis looming close, it is important we ride the challenges ahead with determination and commitment.

The change in Government has also given us the opportunity to reflect on what we have done up until now, and to consider what we can do differently and better.

Traditionally New Zealanders have been seen as ingenious and self-sufficient – creating amazing things with the minimum of materials – “the number 8 wire mentality.” I believe we once again face the challenge to show just how resourceful and creative we can be.

Our 3,000 community volunteers certainly show this spirit when they share their time and expertise to bring about better outcomes for prisoners, their families and the community as a whole.

I will be working closely with my colleagues and staff this year to try and increase the number and variety of activities volunteers can offer prisoners.

The publication of the Handbook for Prison Volunteers is a step towards welcoming community volunteers, breaking down barriers, and providing a better understanding of what we do in prisons and why. Together with the new induction training I hope it will ensure that your prison volunteering experience is a safe, productive and rewarding one.

Once again, I thank you all for your generous and selfless contribution. I look forward to working with you in the year ahead.

Harry Hawthorn
General Manager, Prison Services

Volunteers required - how can you help?

Corrections is keen to hear from anyone who would like to put their hand up to be a prison volunteer.People with gardening, Te Reo or other skills could make a big difference to the lives of prisoners. Corrections would love to meet people who could volunteer in prisons around the country.

Constructive activities reduce idleness and boredom while providing opportunities for prisoners to acquire new skills and maintain motivation.

Hands up for volunteering! There are many areas in which you could help.
Particular areas of need at the moment are:

  • Maori and Pacific Island craft and other cultural activities
  • Te Reo tuition
  • Literacy, reading and ESOL support
  • Guitar tuition
  • Music theory
  • Art and craft classes
  • Chess instruction
  • Sports
  • Prison library support
  • Gardening
  • Motivational speaking
  • Life skills (basic cooking, home management)

If you are able to help, or know of someone who can, please notify your volunteer organisation or your local volunteer coordinator. Alternatively, you can contact us directly on (04) 495 8428, or email

Staying Safe while making a difference

The new look safety and security package: Staying Safe.The Prison Services’ safety and security training package for volunteers has been revised and is soon to be relaunched.

Staying Safe is part of the ‘new look’ volunteer induction training programme.

Volunteer groups acknowledge that training in the safety and security aspects of working with prisoners is an essential part of any worthwhile training and induction programme.

However, concerns had been raised about the consistency in delivery of the former safety and security training, as well as its appropriateness for volunteers.

Staying Safe has therefore been developed after extensive consultation with key stakeholder groups, prisons, and crime prevention and training experts.

The presentation has been trialed by a number of volunteer coordinators and the initial feedback is encouraging.

“Staying Safe is user-friendly and was very well-received at my last training session,” says Margaret Maurice, Volunteer Coordinator for the North Region. “I think volunteers will find it prepares them well for their roles in prison.”

Staying Safe will be presented as part of all volunteer induction training from April 2009.

New challenges ahead

Diane Hallot (left) and Russell Underwood are looking forward to the challenge of new roles in Prison Services.National Advisor Volunteers Russell Underwood has taken on a new challenge with his secondment to the role of Operational Policy Manager in Prison Services until the end of September.

During Russell’s secondment, the role of National Advisor Volunteers will be filled by Diane Hallot – a move that will ensure continuity and maintain the positive momentum established during the last few years.

“Diane was closely involved with the prison volunteering brief in the days before we had dedicated volunteer coordinators,” says Russell.

“She is known to many prison volunteers and their organisations and will be working hard to strengthen partnerships and move the prison volunteering agenda forward during my absence.”
During his secondment Russell will be exposed to many important issues facing the Department including prisoner transportation, staff safety and foundation skills.

“It’s a challenging and exciting time to take on this role. A change in Government presents us with an opportunity to think about what we do, how we do it and if it can be done differently or better. My team will be at the forefront of that thinking,” says Russell.

“It will be difficult to detach myself from prison volunteering until my return later in the year. Working on a daily basis with volunteers, chaplains, volunteer coordinators and the heads of our stakeholder organisations provides me personally with inspiration and hope that together we can, and do, make a difference.”

New volunteer handbook

The cover of the new Handbook for Prison Volunteers.You should have received your copy of the new Handbook for Prison Volunteers with this edition of CORRvolunteer.

This easy-to-use handbook is a completely rewritten and redesigned reference manual for all prison volunteers.
Newly-approved volunteers will receive their copies of the handbook at induction training.

The handbook contains the 10 top tips for Staying Safe as a Prison Volunteer

  1. Nothing in and nothing out
  2. Always comply with the instructions of the corrections officers
  3. Dress conservatively
  4. Never trade with a prisoner or accept/give a gift
  5. Protect your personal information and that of others
  6. Avoid gossip
  7. Be careful about physical contact
  8. Be aware of con games
  9. Learn to say ‘no’
  10. Always report your concerns

Conference 2009

The 2009 New Zealand National Conference on Volunteering will take place on 28 - 29 October in the Wellington Town Hall.

The conference will be organised by Volunteering NZ and will gather various stakeholders from the community and voluntary sector, Government and corporations.

Although the programme is still under development, a number of workshops and panel discussions are likely to feature overseas speakers.

See for further details.


Information on volunteering in the Department