Corrections Act 2004 - More Definitions
The Corrections Act 2004 sets out how the corrections system must operate consistent with its purposes and principles.
Statutory roles and responsibilities
The Act defines the roles and responsibilities of all the key actors in the corrections system, including:
- the Minister of Corrections, the Chief Executive of Corrections and the Commissioner of Police
- Prison managers, and corrections officers
- Hearing adjudicators, security officers, visiting justices and medical officers
- The controlling officer of a probation area and probation officers
- Inspectors of Corrections.
Establishing and operating community work centres
The Act specifies how:
- the Minister can establish community work centres
- the Chief Executive can establish rules for how a centre is managed, and for the conduct and welfare of offenders subject to community work sentences.
Establishing and operating prisons
The Act empowers the Minister of Corrections to establish prisons and Police jails by publishing a notice in the New Zealand Gazette. It empowers managers to make rules about the management of their prisons and jails.
A lot of the Act concerns the way in which prisons should operate, including rules about:
- where and how prisoners can be detained
- what happens to prisoners’ property, including their money
- how prisoners should be classified for security purposes
- what plans are necessary to properly manage the needs of prisoners
- transferring prisoners between different prisons
- how and when prisoners should be segregated from each other
- temporary release from custody and temporary removal from prison
- prisoner work and earnings
- living conditions, including minimum entitlements to exercise, bedding, diet and visits
- medical treatment and health care
- mail and telephone calls
- provisions intended to meet the particular needs of prisoners, including their religious, spiritual and cultural needs, and the needs of women prisoners who have babies.
The Act specifies what coercive powers prison officers can use, how and under what circumstances.
- how force and restraints can be used by prison staff
- what powers prison staff have to search prisoners, visitors and other persons
- how mail and telephone calls can be monitored (or withheld) by prison staff
- what alcohol and drug testing can be done.
The Act establishes the types of offences that may be committed by prisoners. It sets out how these offences can be dealt with, including what penalties can imposed.
Complaints, investigations, and inspections
The Act includes a range of mechanisms to ensure that those responsible for managing the corrections system can be held accountable for their actions.
- complaints procedures
- Ombudsman enquiries
- inspections by Members of Parliament and Justices of the Peace.
The Act includes a power to make Regulations to further ensure the good management of the corrections system and safe custody of prisoners.
The Corrections Regulations 2005 consequently sets out, in more detail than the Act, how the corrections system should operate.