Key Initiatives Delivered During 2004/05

This section outlines the key initiatives delivered during the 2004/05 financial year. Each of these initiatives flows from the Department’s Strategic Buiness Plan 2003–2008 and is presented under the four themes that form the framework of that plan.


THEME 1 – Ensuring Effective Offender Management

Public safety is paramount to the Department’s operations. The Department is committed to continuing to improve the way it manages offenders, both from a custodial and non-custodial perspective, by continuing its focus on the safe, secure and humane management of offenders.

The Department has implemented an integrated approach to the way that offenders are managed across all sentence types, lengths and locations. The focus in managing offenders effectively now moves to:

  • ensuring new processes, tools and procedures are operating as designed, and are consolidating the changes made
  • ensuring that services are delivered within business-like principles and that the Department is continually improving business processes and identifying areas for review and redesign.

Strategy: Strengthen the corrections system’s contribution to public safety
The Department is continuously seeking to improve the way in which offenders are managed to ensure that they are kept safe and secure and that the consequent risk to the public is minimised. Particular emphasis is given to improving the integrity of existing systems, making use of new technology and processes, and minimising factors like drugs in prisons that can undermine security.

Initiatives and Achievements 2004/05

Implement year one of the Department’s 2005–2008 strategy to reduce drug and alcohol use in New Zealand prisons, specifically including increasing the number of drug dogs, and other initiatives arising from the strategy, subject to funding.

The Department’s Strategy to Reduce Drug and Alcohol Use by Offenders 2005–2008 was issued in September 2004. This is the Department’s third such strategy. The strategy includes 18 initiatives under three key objective headings. Although work on the strategy has progressed, the substantive work on the majority of the initiatives will occur in the 2005/06 financial year and beyond.

One initiative within the strategy has been achieved, the acquisition of three additional drug detection dogs and the recruitment of three more drug dog handlers, who completed training in November 2004. The drug dog teams were subsequently deployed in Hawke’s Bay, Wanganui and Christchurch.

Implement improved information sharing between agencies following enactment of the new corrections legislation when passed.

Information sharing requirements, as identified in the Corrections Act 2004, were negotiated during the year with external agencies, as appropriate. Implementation of the Act was deferred to 1 June 2005, but a revised Memorandum of Understanding with the New Zealand Police will be in place in the first quarter of 2005/06, to codify information-sharing protocols to take account of the revised legislation.

Strategy: Implement legislative reforms
The Department provides support for the development of new legislation with the potential to impact on the corrections system. The Department is also responsible for ensuring that all legislation, once passed, is implemented as intended.

Initiatives and Achievements 2004/05

Continue to provide support as required for enactment of new corrections legislation and begin implementation when passed.

The Department fully met all of its obligations in respect of implementing the new legislation. The Corrections Act was passed in June 2004 and the Department supported the implementation of the legislation through to the commencement date of 1 June 2005, including the development of the Corrections Regulations 2005.

Work undertaken by the Department to support implementation, and to ensure that all requirements of the new legislation were met prior to it coming into force, included the following:

  • all documentation, such as national systems, service descriptions and manuals, was reviewed and updated.
  • a new delegations structure was in place from 1 June 2005 for making decisions about the management of offenders.
  • the prison disciplinary process was reviewed, including the appointment of suitably trained hearing adjudicators.
  • a new complaints process for the Community Probation Service was developed and implemented.

Integrate the Auckland Central Remand Prison into the Public Prisons Service following the enactment of the new corrections legislation when passed.

Planning for the transfer of the management of the Auckland Central Remand Prison from GEO New Zealand Pty Limited to the Department was completed in the first half of the year and the transition phase commenced in January 2005. A joint transition plan between the Department and GEO was developed and implemented. All elements of this plan were successfully completed, resulting in the smooth transition of the prison to the Department at midnight on 12 July 2005.

Departmental work to support the transition included:

  • recruitment of new staff and the transfer of ex-GEO staff to the Department
  • training for new and transferring staff
  • reconfirming contracts and arrangements for property management, prisoner employment, education and health services
  • developing and implementing the operational policies and procedures within the prison
  • integrating the Auckland Central Remand Prison information technology infrastructure into departmental systems
  • developing and completing a handover agreement.

The signing of the handover agreement on 12 July 2005 confirmed the completion of all contractual responsibilities between the Department and GEO.

Implement the extended supervision regime for serious child sex offenders as required by the Parole (Extended Supervision) Amendment Act 2004.

Systems and procedures were established to support the implementation of the extended supervision regime, including the development and implementation of an extended supervision offender database and protocols with the New Zealand Parole Board, and guidelines, systems and procedures for managing offenders subject to the orders. New systems for the management of these offenders are now well established. The Department was required to make applications for orders in respect of transitional offenders by 7 January 2005. By that date, health assessments had been completed for 55 transitional offenders and, subsequently, applications for extended supervision orders were made for 41 such offenders. The overall status of the management of the extended supervision regime at 30 June 2005 is reported under Output 2.6 at page 122.

Strategy: Improve the general health of prisoners
Health issues, especially drug and alcohol dependency, have a direct impact upon offending behaviours. By taking steps to improve the health of prisoners, the Department not only provides a safe and humane environment for their containment but also contributes to reducing re-offending.

Initiatives and Achievements 2004/05

Continue implementation of the funded aspects of the Department’s health review.

Implementation of the health review was progressed in line with the phasing in of the approved funding, and included implementation of the new clinical governance structure and recruitment of additional health staff. Recruitment of additional nursing staff was pursued in a competitive environment and a range of recruitment initiatives were implemented accordingly. A further nurse recruitment campaign was planned, together with a national recruitment and retention strategy. Work continued on Prison Health and Disability Support Service Specifications, a health services quality, monitoring, and compliance framework and the development of options for a health procurement strategy.

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THEME 2 – Improving Responsiveness to Maori

The Department has identified the criticality of effectively addressing the needs of Maori offenders. Its Maori Strategic Plan 2003–2008 outlines opportunities to build relationships and strengthen communications between Maori and the Department. Participation of Maori in the Department’s activities and initiatives will improve the effectiveness of the services that the Department provides and help to achieve the contributory outcomes of protecting the public and reducing re-offending.1

Strategy: Include and engage Maori whanau and hapu
The success of the Department’s efforts in working with Maori offenders can be enhanced by enabling effective whanau involvement in sentence management and reintegrative processes for those offenders.

Initiatives and Achievements 2004/05

Continue to implement the Whanau Involvement Plan.

The Whanau Involvement Plan was scheduled to be implemented in early 2005 but was delayed pending completion of work associated with the Department’s responses to the State Services Commission-led ministerial review of targeted policies and programmes and work on high-priority Pacific initiatives, including development of the Pacific Strategy 2005–2008. Implementation of the initiatives in the Whanau Involvement Plan is now included in the Department’s 2005/06 Statement of Intent.

Strategy: Integrate Maori world views into programmes and services
Maori cultural values, philosophies and practices must be considered when the Department is developing effective programmes and services for Maori offenders.

Initiatives and Achievements 2004/05

Implement year one of the women’s Tikanga Maori programme in the Public Prisons Service.

Four Tikanga Maori programmes for women were planned to commence in the third quarter of 2004/05 – one at Waikeria Prison, two at Arohata Prison and one at Christchurch Women’s Prison. However, delivery only occurred at Waikeria Prison, because the initial process did not identify suitable providers for Arohata and Christchurch Women’s prisons. A tender process in the first quarter of 2005/06 will select appropriate providers for delivery at Arohata and Christchurch Women’s prisons.

Strategy: Build the responsiveness of the Department
A capable and responsive workforce assists the Department’s effectiveness in implementing Maori initiatives and managing relationships with Maori communities.

Initiatives and Achievements 2004/05

Revise recruitment methodology to better enhance the Department’s ability to attract and recruit Maori staff and managers.

The Department encouraged the development of local recruitment initiatives by, and through, its service delivery entities. Different approaches to recruitment included links to national events of importance for Maori, such as significant hui and festivals.

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THEME 3 – Contributing to Reducing Re-offending

One of the outcomes for the Department, and therefore a theme area, is to contribute towards an overall reduction in the level of re-offending.

Using a range of strategies and initiatives the Department will work to address the risks of re-offending. This will be achieved through the provision of rehabilitative and reintegrative interventions and activities designed to assist offenders to address their offending behaviours and return successfully to the community.

Strategy: Increase the effectiveness of initiatives to reduce re-offending
The Department has invested significantly in best practice approaches towards the successful rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders in recent years. Evaluation and continuous improvement of these approaches is critical to ensuring ongoing effectiveness in reducing re-offending.

Initiatives and Achievements 2004/05

Implement new reintegrative initiatives arising from Budget business cases, as agreed with the Minister of Corrections.

The Minister of Corrections launched the Wellington Regional Reintegration Coordinator pilot in November 2004. All reintegration worker pilot positions (at Waikeria and Arohata prisons) were fully operational at the end of the year, and a report on the pilots was provided to the Minister in June 2005. The reintegration workers promote a range of services that are provided within prisons and in the community.

Other initiatives and strategies developed within the reintegration framework included a pre-release education programme, a communication strategy for stakeholders, a release package for prisoners and enhancements to data capture and monitoring systems.

The Auckland Prisoners’ Aid and Rehabilitation Society was selected and contracted to provide the Supported Accommodation Service pilot in Auckland.

Strategy: Reduce the incidence of violent re-offending
Significant growth in prisoner numbers in the 1980s and 1990s has been caused mainly by an increase in the number and severity of violent crimes. Addressing the causes of violent offending would create fewer victims and produce significant savings in the costs of imprisonment and other justice sector costs.

Initiatives and Achievements 2004/05

Continue to contribute to the national rollout of the inter-departmental Circuit Breaker project on family violence.

Inter-departmental work continued against the national implementation plan. The Community Probation Service maintained representation on each of the 14 Circuit Breaker teams. Work during the year also focused on finalising an integrated quality assurance and audit process that met the needs of all five funding agencies involved in the project.

Strategy: Improve outcomes for Pacific peoples
Around 11 percent of the prison population is Pacific peoples. Compared with other groups, Pacific offenders have a higher rate of conviction and commit more serious and violent offences. However, they have lower rates of re-offending. The Department has developed the Pacific Strategy with specific areas of intervention for this offender group.

Initiatives and Achievements 2004/05

Develop the requirements for a Pacific Focus Unit at the Spring Hill Corrections Facility.

The operating principles for the Pacific Focus Unit at the Spring Hill Corrections Facility were completed, while the operating requirements and the operating model for the unit will be developed in the first quarter of 2005/06.

Continue to progress the initiatives outlined in the Pacific Strategy including:

  • implementation of the Pacific Violence Prevention Programme
  • develop mechanisms to evaluate effective programmes for Pacific offenders
  • undertake research into the specific issues and needs of New Zealand-born Pacific offenders.

Saili Matagi, the Pacific Violence Prevention Programme, was implemented at Auckland Prison following a successful pilot in 2003/04. The Department approved a new framework for the evaluation of Pacific interventions, and completed research on issues for New Zealand-born Pacific offenders.

A new Pacific Strategy 2005–2008 was also developed during the year, and subsequently launched by the Minister of Corrections on 29 July 2005.

Strategy: Return young offenders to a positive role in society
Young offenders have a significantly high re-offending rate and early intervention may prevent young offenders from proceeding to a lifetime of further offending. Over recent years, the Department has introduced initiatives, such as youth units and the Reducing Youth Offending Programme, which are specifically aimed at preventing young offenders from continuing on a path to adult crime.

Initiatives and Achievements 2004/05

Complete, in conjunction with Child, Youth and Family, Year 3 of the Reducing Youth Offending Programme pilot and continue evaluation.

Year three of the Reducing Youth Offending Programme pilot was completed at the two pilot sites in Auckland and Christchurch, and the evaluation process is continuing. During the year, the programme faced a number of challenges relating to referral rates and staffing, but these issues were managed and have improved as the year progressed.

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THEME 4 – Enhancing Capability and Capacity

To achieve the first three themes the Department requires increased capability and capacity. This theme focuses on ensuring the Department has in place the right resources, people, support systems and infrastructure.

Enhanced capability and capacity is also required to ensure that the Crown assets for which the Department is responsible, are efficiently and effectively used towards the achievement of government outcomes.

Strategy: Develop the capability and capacity of staff and managers
In order to achieve its strategic direction the Department needs to have the right human resources capability. To ensure this, the Department will build manager capability through selection, development and support initiatives; increase employee capability; and focus on recruitment, retention and succession issues.

Initiatives and Achievements 2004/05

Implement initiatives outlined in the management development strategy, including manager assessment, training and succession planning.

Under the Management at Corrections programme, training modules for performance management, responsiveness, managing financial and business information, and health and safety were developed, piloted and implemented. In addition, a number of the Department’s managers progressed through the leadership assessment centre managed by the Leadership Development Centre. As a result of resourcing constraints, it was not possible to implement processes to identify high-potential managers for succession and higher development purposes. However, the Department’s Services have implemented Service specific management development programmes to complement the departmental Management at Corrections programme.

Strategy: Provide an increasingly safe and healthy work environment
A safe and healthy work environment involves full adherence to Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) and Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) standards. This, in turn, requires good compliance processes, the provision of appropriate training, and a performance management system that targets and rewards safe and healthy work practices.

Initiatives and Achievements 2004/05

Develop and begin implementation of the National Health and Safety Strategic Plan 2005–2008.

A National Health and Safety Strategy 2005–2008 was approved. The strategy was developed in the context of the Government’s Workplace Health and Safety Strategy to 2015, which was released in June 2005. A National Health and Safety Plan has also been approved, which identifies appropriate actions in support of the health and safety strategy to 2008.

Strategy: Provide facilities to meet projected demand
The Department needs to ensure that it has sufficient facilities in place to address the projected increase in the number and geographic distribution of prisoners. This not only involves building more prisons, but also ensuring that it has sufficient, trained staff and support systems in place.

Initiatives and Achievements 2004/05

Continue the implementation of the Government’s regional prisons policy, which includes:

  • complete the construction of and commission the Northland Region Corrections Facility
  • complete the planning approval process and begin required earthworks at the Spring Hill Corrections Facility
  • complete the planning process, including the review of any High Court designation appeals, and begin construction of the Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility
  • progress any appeals through the Environment Court and/or commence construction of the Otago Region Corrections Facility.

The Northland Region Corrections Facility was officially opened by the Minister of Corrections on 8 March 2005. All operational handover and commissioning work was completed in advance of the first prisoner receptions on 29 April 2005 and commissioning of the facility proceeded as planned. The phase-in of prisoners was slightly ahead of schedule at 30 June 2005, with 93 beds occupied compared with the 72 beds originally planned. It is anticipated that commissioning of the facility will be completed in the second quarter of 2005/06.

Construction of the Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility is well advanced and is due for completion in 2006, while commissioning planning for this facility has been progressed. Earthworks for the Spring Hill Corrections Facility were completed during the year and begun for the Otago Region Corrections Facility. Both facilities are expected to be completed in 2007.

In response to prison population pressures, the Government approved the construction of 493 new beds at existing prison sites. Work began during the year and will continue in 2005/06.

Strategy: Maintain existing facilities as appropriate
The Department has fixed assets worth approximately $850 million, with the majority of these being prison facilities. The Department’s maintenance programme outlines the work required to ensure that these facilities remain safe and secure.

Initiatives and Achievements 2004/05

Complete implementation of business continuity planning.

Business continuity plans for the Department’s groups and services were approved. Head Office plans were tested in desk-top exercises, including the development of arrangements to use alternative sites in the event of an emergency. Documentation of business continuity plans was completed for the Department’s individual services, with plans being held at each site.

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1 Additional information about the Department’s work in improving responsiveness to Maori is included within the Reducing Inequalities Report on pages 182–8.

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