Department's Focus

The Department makes a particular contribution to four of the justice sector intermediate outcomes within the end outcome of safer communities:

  • reduced youth offending
  • reduced offending by Maori
  • reduced violence
  • reduced family violence.

The Department contributes to protecting the public by:

  • providing a safe environment for staff and the public
  • managing offenders in a safe, secure and humane manner
  • ensuring appropriate compliance with, and administration of, sentences and orders
  • providing information to the judiciary to inform the sentencing process and release conditions
  • supporting reparation to the community.

The Department also contributes to the justice sector end outcome of a fairer, more credible and more effective justice system. It does this through the delivery of effective interventions and by operating in a way that is consistent with its agreed purpose and principles, thereby contributing to improved public perceptions of the fairness of the justice system. This end outcome is directly aligned with the key government goal of reducing inequalities. The Department’s contribution to reducing inequalities is discussed within the context of the sustainable development report in Part 3.

The Department contributes to reducing re-offending through changing offending behaviour by providing targeted rehabilitative and  reintegrative initiatives, including education, work experience and skills training. To do this, the Department supplies:

  • a risk and needs assessment for offenders to determine how best to address offending behaviour
  • programmes to encourage offenders to address their offending behaviour
  • programmes to address offenders’ offence-related needs
  • education
  • training
  • work experience to assist offenders to secure employment on release
  • assistance with accessing community services, for example, through reintegration workers and supported accommodation, so that offenders can be successfully integrated back into the community and given the best opportunity to participate positively in society.

Medium-term Direction

The Department has concentrated in recent years on those interventions that are directly related to the outcome of protecting the public, while continuing the development of initiatives to support the outcome of reducing re-offending. This has been necessary as part of the Government’s overall approach to reforming the criminal justice system in order to better protect the public while enabling best practice management of offenders. The approach has also reflected the balance between resources devoted to producing outputs that contribute to this outcome (85 percent of the Department’s output costs are linked to protecting the public, providing the ‘core’ custodial services, communitybased sentences and information to support the judiciary and the New Zealand Parole Board). Successful investment in this area has been demonstrated through positive results from the relevant outcome indicators, as reported in this and previous annual reports.

While the Department is pleased with the progress made to date towards the outcome of protecting the public, it is still concerned with ensuring that the gains made do not erode, given the current pressure (and particularly that experienced during the 2004/05 financial year) on prison facilities in terms of the higher than forecast prison population and the difficulties in maintaining the required number of prison staff. Accordingly, it is essential that a strong concentration remains on the effectiveness of the Department’s operations that contribute directly to protecting the public, and this has been reflected in the Department’s operational focus during the 2004/05 financial year.

However, it is recognised that the successful reduction of re-offending presents a better long-term promise of a positive impact on safer communities. With regard to reducing re-offending, the Department has developed rehabilitation interventions that are founded on what works and on international best practice. It is internationally recognised that the greatest gains in reducing re-offending will be made through a  combination of best practice sentence management, appropriate rehabilitation programmes and a strong focus on the reintegration of offenders back into the community.

Consequently, in 2004/05, the Department:

  • implemented a new Strategy to Reduce Drug and Alcohol Use by Offenders
  • implemented the Corrections Act 2004 and Corrections Regulations 2005
  •  introduced the new extended supervision regime for child-sex offenders
  • developed and introduced new initiatives to improve reintegration
  • progressed the development of new corrections facilities.

In addition, early in 2005, the Department identified and agreed with the Minister of Corrections key initiatives for priority areas of development during 2005/06. The priority areas are summarised below.

  • Enhance reintegration of offenders who have spent time in prison, into the community.
  • Ensure offenders in prison and on home detention receive appropriate industry training and assistance with finding sustainable employment.
  • Enhance offender management processes and systems to ensure integration across the Department and with other agencies is maximised.
  • Improve the focus on rehabilitation of offenders in prison and in the community.
  • Improve the management of offenders serving short sentences in prison, including the period that they are under supervision in the community.
  • Trial new technologies for electronic monitoring.
  • Contribute to the Ministry of Justiceled review of home detention.
  • Enhance prison security by monitoring prisoners’ telephone calls and improving crime prevention information capability.