Editorial - Changing practice; changing lives

Having only recently joined the Department of Corrections, I am constantly amazed at how dedicated the staff here are to changing lives and improving circumstances for those with whom we work, whether this is in a prison or in the community or working in partnership with contracted providers.

Being editor of the Practice Journal has further reinforced for me just how far we have come on our journey of reducing re-offending and shaping futures.

This edition focuses on some key pieces of work being led by Corrections as well as initiatives being jointly led with other organisations, for example in the employment space and the family violence sector.

There are a number of articles that give us insight in to how much we have achieved over the last five years, in particular our Director Māori, Neil Campbell’s, article on tikanga-based programmes. This article reminds us that addressing the high rate of Mäori re-offending cannot be achieved alone and reinforces the need to collaborate with Mäori groups to improve the way we design and deliver programmes.

Wayne Goodall’s gem The Sentenced Prisoner Population 1980-2016: The link between policy changes and growth generates much food for thought. The article outlines key legislative and policy changes that have impacted on the growth and changing nature of the sentenced population.

As Goodall’s article highlights, there are now many more people in prison for drug offences, hence the need for evidence-based alcohol and drug treatment, as outlined in the article by Dr Jillian Mullen. The relevance of these programmes is highlighted by the complexity of the needs we are seeing in the youth who are sentenced to prison. Dr Ashley Shearer highlights the importance of a principled approach and the involvement of communities when working with young people in the prison setting.

This also applies to how we work with women in the custodial environment. Hannah McGlue’s article on trauma informed practice and the article from Bevan, Lynch and Morrison on female family violence perpetrators give rich information on understanding why women offend and how we can work differently with them to improve their lives.

These articles enable us to better understand those we are working with and how we can adapt our practice so they can make changes.

I cannot stress how much I recommend you to grab this edition and read it thoroughly. It will not only enrich your work, it will also remind you of our commitment to changing lives and how we can all make a difference every day.

Nova Banaghan
Director Quality and Performance, Service Development
Department of Corrections