Corrections Act 2004

The Corrections Act 2004 establishes New Zealand’s corrections system - which Corrections is responsible for administering.

Purpose of the corrections system

The purpose of the corrections system, set out in Section 5 of the Act, is to improve public safety and the maintenance of a just society by:

  • administering all sentences and related orders imposed by the Courts and the New Zealand Parole Board in a safe, secure, humane, and effective manner
  • operating corrections facilities in accordance with the Corrections Act and Regulations (which, in turn, is based on international documents such as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners)
  • assisting in rehabilitating offenders and reintegrating them into the community through providing programmes and other interventions
  • providing information to the Courts and Parole Board to assist them in decision-making.

Principles of the Act

The Act also sets out principles that must guide the operation of the corrections system, some of these principles are:

  • maintenance of public safety is the paramount consideration when managing offenders
  • victims' interests must be considered in decisions related to offender management
  • to reduce the risk of re-offending, the cultural background, ethnic identity, and language of offenders must, where appropriate and to the extent practicable, be taken into account:
    • in developing and providing rehabilitative programmes and other interventions intended to effectively assist rehabilitating and reintegrating offenders into the community, and
    • in sentence planning and managing offenders
  • offenders must be provided with access to any process designed to promote restorative justice between offenders and victims, where appropriate and so far as is reasonable and practicable
  • an offender's family must be recognised and involved in decisions related to sentence planning and management, and rehabilitating and reintegrating the offender into the community, so far as is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances and within the resources available
  • the corrections system must ensure the fair treatment of offenders by:
    • providing them with information about the rules, obligations, and entitlements that affect them, and
    • ensuring that decisions about them are taken in a fair and reasonable way and that they have access to an effective complaints procedure
  • sentences and orders must not be administered more restrictively than is reasonably necessary to ensure the maintenance of the law and the safety of the public, corrections staff, and offenders
  • offenders must be given access to activities that may contribute to rehabilitating and reintegrating them into the community, so far as is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances and within the resources available
  • contact between prisoners and their families must be encouraged and supported, so far as is reasonable and practicable and within the resources available, to the extent it is consistent with maintaining safety and security requirements.