Public safety is our top priority, and no escape from custody is acceptable. Every year we carry out tens of thousands of escorts between prisons, courts, medical facilities and rehabilitation providers. The overwhelming majority of escorts occur without incident. If a prisoner escapes, we immediately contact the New Zealand Police, who are responsible for locating and returning the individual to custody as soon as possible. A person who is convicted of escaping lawful custody can receive a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment.

Data set for escapes – national and by prison

Quarterly statistics for escapes are available to view below. The data provided for the current financial year is as at 31 March 2024, and is subject to change until the full-year process has been completed.

Corrections classifies escapes in the following categories:

  • Breakout – prisoner has left the area contained by the outermost perimeter security fence or, if there is no such fence, from the prison building.
  • From escort – prisoner escaped from escort while under supervision, including from escorted outings and court escorts.
  • Breach of temporary release order – prisoner breached a condition of their temporary release, including failing to return within reasonable time without reasonable cause.
  • Absconding – prisoner has left a designated area and is away from direct custodial control, including walking away from work parties.

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