Appendix Four: Report under section 190 of the Corrections Act 2004 and Parole Act 2002
Requires the Chief Executive to report on how he has carried out his functions under section 8(1)(k) and prison directors have carried out their functions under section 12(d), of ensuring that processes are established and maintained to identify communities significantly affected by policies and practices in the corrections system, and giving opportunities for those communities to give their views on those policies and practices, and ensuring those views are taken into account.
The year has seen Corrections continue to engage with stakeholders, as well as actively engaging with individuals and groups where our operations could potentially impact communities, e.g. the operation of the new Auckland South Corrections Facility (ASCF), design and construction of the new facility at Auckland Prison, temporary release of prisoners and treaty settlements.
We have established formal community liaison groups where prison representatives meet with designated members of the community to consider the effects of any activity carried out at the prison on the community.
Corrections has worked with employers, government agencies and community groups to both gain a greater understanding of stakeholders’ views and, in turn, provide a wider picture of what Corrections is doing to make a difference in people’s lives.
We work closely with a number of large employers and industry leaders to encourage greater employment and training options for offenders. In addition to our relationships with employers who provide Release to Work opportunities for offenders close to release from prison, we have Memorandums of Understanding with over 60 employers who have agreed to provide jobs for offenders following the ends of prison sentences.
Advisory panels were first established in 2014/15, and have become embedded during 2015/16. These panels provide advice to prison directors on the suitability of prisoners who have applied for activities or special visits outside the prison perimeter, including Temporary Release, Release to Work, the Whare Oranga Ake support programme and prisoner work parties. The advisory panels are made up of Corrections staff, external agencies, and community representatives, who provide advice to the prison director to support their decision making regarding matters of necessary concern to the community.
Engagement with family/whänau, iwi and local communities is an essential part of preparing people for reintegration ahead of leaving prison and once they are in the community. Iwi and community groups contributed to our reducing re-offending work through locally initiated programmes of activity funded by our Regional Initiative Fund. These stakeholders continue to assist us in identifying new and effective rehabilitation activities in prisons and in the community.
A report on the work undertaken by the inspectors of Corrections, including statistical information about the disposition of complaints made by people under control or supervision and comment on issues arising from complaints or visits.
Chief Inspector’s Annual Report for 2015/2016 Pursuant to Section 190(1)(b) of the Corrections Act 2004.
The Corrections Inspectorate is established under the provisions of section 28 of the Corrections Act 2004 as a dedicated complaints resolution, investigation, and assurance function, with accountability directly to the Chief Executive independent of operational line management. The legislation acknowledges the high level of risk attached to sentence management by providing an appropriate level of legislative prescription, protection and access for the agents of the Chief Executive in matters related to sentence management generally and the secure prison environment in particular.
Complaints to the inspectors of Corrections
Community-based sentences traditionally generate a very low volume of contacts with the inspectors. In the current year there were only 45 contacts from the community received via 0800 calls, letters, or website contacts. These contact numbers are similar to previous years and include both complaints and requests for information/clarification.
The effective and timely resolution of prisoner complaints is a primary area of focus for inspectors and generates the majority of their workload. For reasons of safety, security, fairness and the mitigation of risk the Department expects prisoner issues and concerns to be resolved as soon as practicable and at the lowest possible organisational level. In the normal course of events that is within the prison, at unit level. It is the responsibility of unit staff to resolve prisoner concerns by taking the appropriate action before they escalate into complaints or incidents. For those occasions where lower level resolution does not occur, or is not possible, the legislation provides Corrections with a two-tiered system of internal complaints resolution. At prison site level a robust, auditable internal complaints system exists so that prisoners can formally take matters for resolution to their residential manager or prison director. This constitutes the first tier.
The Inspectorate is Corrections’ second tier of complaints resolution. As such it is effectively the Department’s last opportunity to resolve a complaint before external agencies or court action become involved. There were 1,058 formal complaints received for the year. This was a significant decrease on the 2014/2015 year complaints of 1,641
It should be noted that the Inspectorate has recently altered the manner in which it handles complaints. This change was to place greater accountability on prison management to manage prisoner complaints robustly in the first instance. Therefore contacts from prisoners who had not used the internal complaints processes in the first instance are referred back to prison management and are recorded by the Inspectorate as an information contact and not as a complaint. Complaints are now only recorded by the Inspectorate following a formal decision on their complaint being made by management, which the prisoner did not accept. The exception to this rule is where there is an identified risk to the safety of any individual, or the matter relates to a statutory review where timeframes are critical; in these cases the Inspectorate will immediately become involved.
Only 38 of the 1,058 complaints received in the 2015/16 year were found to be justified. At 3.5% of total complaints this is, in my view, a very low proportion of the thousands of interactions that occur between the Department and offenders every year.
While a complaint may not be categorised as justified, it does not mean that the complaint was without merit or validity. The Inspectorate has been focused on gaining a satisfactory resolution to prisoner complaints through mediation and discussion with prison management.
The highest category of justified complaints (11) related to internal complaint forms that were not processed or actioned appropriately by prison staff. These were deemed to be isolated incidents of individual staff non-compliance with the system requirements rather than any systemic issues, and in general were related to excessive time taken to resolve the issue or provide a formal response to the prisoner.
0800 Complaints Line
Since 1997, the Inspectorate has operated an 0800 free-call phone line that offenders, and in particular prisoners and their families, could use to raise a complaint directly with an inspector during normal business hours or leave a message outside those times. In 2015/16 year there were 5,418 calls received, of which 945 were recorded as a formal complaint. The remaining contacts were for general information or clarification of issues or repeat calls about the same issue. The new prison, Auckland South Corrections Facility (ASCF), had the largest number of contacts via the 0800 system with 1,078 contacts. It is noted that prisoners at ASCF have greater access to telephones as they have telephones within their individual cells.
This facility still generates the majority of the contacts prisoners make with the inspectors every year. While only 945 of these contacts resulted in formal complaints, the service is of considerable value as it allows a prisoner to immediately bring a serious concern to the attention of an inspector. The inspector is also in a position to immediately highlight a concern to prison management regarding a prisoner’s state of mind and potential risk to themselves, or others, as a result of these calls.
In addition to the prison visiting and complaints resolution activities, the inspectors have conducted full investigations of 26 prisoner deaths in custody (15 assumed natural causes, 11 assumed suicides). This is a significant increase on the 18 deaths investigated for 2014/2015. The conduct of these investigations has been monitored by investigating officers from the Office of the Ombudsmen who attended most scene examinations and interviews and were kept appraised of developments throughout.
Three further special investigations have been completed in the year. A major investigation into MECF took place following YouTube footage being released to the media showing organised prisoner on prisoner violence. As at the date that this Annual Report was approved for release, the report was yet to be released (it’s release having been delayed due to court action taken by SERCO in relation to the report). A second associated investigation examined organised fighting and access to contraband in public prison sites in New Zealand. A third special investigation has been completed into the circumstances surrounding the prolonged use of a tie down bed to restrain a prisoner at Auckland Prison.
In the interests of transparency, the inspectors have also continued to monitor the conduct and outcome of a number of internal prison investigations into prisoner’s allegations of assault/abuse by staff. Eleven such monitoring reviews were commenced during the year; ten have been finalised and one case is currently under active investigation.
The issues identified in these investigations tend to reflect isolated instances of non-compliance with some specified systems, usually by an individual, rather than any systemic issues in practice with those systems.
The Inspectorate has reported progressively throughout the year on the matters arising out of their various activities to operational management, to the Chief Executive, and to the Department of Corrections Audit and Risk Committee.
It cannot be stressed enough that Corrections is, and will remain, a challenging environment to manage and in which to work. Incidents are a fact of prison life in particular, and no jurisdiction in the world has developed an effective immunity to them.
Nonetheless, it remains the Inspectorate’s view that overall the Department can be proud of the quality of its services and of the ongoing dedication and professionalism of its staff and managers.
A report on the processes and systems in place to supervise and control the monitoring of prisoner phone calls, including statistics on the proportion of prisoner calls monitored (otherwise than merely by being recorded) and the number and percentage of calls disclosed under section 117(1) and (2):
- to any person other than an employee of the Chief Executive or a contractor
- to an employee of the Chief Executive or a contractor
- of those disclosed, the number of proceedings against a person for a disciplinary offence in which a recording of any of those calls was used in evidence.
Legislative authority for Corrections to monitor prisoners’ telephone calls is provided under section 113 of the Corrections Act 2004.
The monitoring of prisoner phone calls made from payphones in prisons is an important part of our commitment to safety in the community and in our prisons. We use information collected from these calls to protect victims, prevent drug use, violence, escapes and to stop crimes being organised and committed in the community. We also share this information with the NZ Police, the Inland Revenue Department, the Ministry of Social Development, and other agencies to these ends.
Spark New Zealand provides standard payphones for prisoner use in units across all prisons. Prisoners can purchase phone cards to pay for their calls through the prisoner canteen system, or they can be posted to the prisoner by family members and friends. All calls are recorded and monitored on a targeted basis. The exception is prisoners’ calls to the Office of the Ombudsman, legal representatives, Crimestoppers, Members of Parliament and selected Government agencies, which are exempt from monitoring.
All prisoner calls are managed through a prisoner telephone call control system – which restricts the calls that prisoners are able to make. Only ten numbers are able to be loaded onto the prisoners approved calling list. This is to prevent criminal activity or harassment of victims or members of the public, from within the prison. All numbers are verified by prison staff and permission sought from the call recipient before the number is approved.
In 2015/16, of the 3,625,121 (1,219,224 in Auckland South Corrections Facility and 2,405,897 in all other prisons) recorded calls, 76,561 were monitored (not including Auckland South Corrections Facility), and a large number of those monitored calls produced valuable information to support the prevention and reduction of crime. We also know that sharing this information with our partners has made it possible to identify visitors who may pose a threat to staff and prisoners in our prisons, enhanced community safety and led to the discovery of drugs and other contraband.
A report on measures to reduce drug and alcohol use by prisoners and the effectiveness of those measures, random-testing programmes and the results of those programmes.
This year we released our latest drug and alcohol strategy, Breaking the Cycle: Our Drug and Alcohol Strategy through to 2020. The new strategy sets the direction for how Corrections manages alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment and misuse among offenders. As part of the strategy’s development, we consulted with AOD service providers, NGOs in the addiction sector, and frontline staff across the country. A number of key themes and potential solutions emerged as part of this process and informed the strategy’s approach and key priorities. The strategy highlights the good work we are doing to reduce the harm caused by AOD, such as enhanced investments in AOD aftercare, expanding the use of alcohol interlocks, and progressing legislation to provide for AOD testing of high-risk offenders and bailees in the community.
A range of AOD treatment programmes are offered in prison and the number of offenders starting these programmes has continued to increase during 2015/16. In the past year Brief, Intermediate and Intensive AOD interventions were delivered to 5,395 offenders, which is an increase of more than 50% from 2014/15. In addition, 1,018 offenders were placed into Drug Treatment Unit programmes for three or six months. All AOD treatment programmes exceeded the targeted completion rate (75%) with 84% of participants completing Brief, Intermediate and Intensive Interventions and 77% of participants completing the more intensive Drug Treatment Unit programmes.
In late 2015, the Department successfully obtained funding from the Justice Sector Fund to design and deliver AOD aftercare services to the end of June 2018, with a focus on maintaining gains made during AOD treatment while in prison. The first service being launched involves the creation of a new AOD aftercare worker role, with current AOD treatment providers in prisons filling 15 positions to begin work in July 2016. These aftercare workers will offer continuity of care to treatment graduates by providing one-to-one and group maintenance sessions both in prison and upon release into the community, as well as addressing any AOD reintegration needs.
To reduce drug and alcohol use by offenders in the community, our probation officers are continuing to deliver brief AOD interventions to community-based offenders with an identified need for intervention. In 2015/16, 14,733 community offenders received brief alcohol and drug interventions delivered by probation officers.
The Brief Drink Drive Intervention pilot that began in 2014/15 was extended for a further two years with funding from the Justice Sector Fund. Between October and June, 134 interventions were delivered to 1,323 community offenders. The programme consists of brief educational and motivational sessions of six to 10 hours in length, suitable for first and second time drink drive offenders. Uptake into the programmes was strong and feedback from participants has been positive. In addition, the Department implemented an Alcohol Interlock trial (supported by the Justice Sector Fund) which fully subsidises the costs of the alcohol interlock programme for community offenders who had been granted an alcohol interlock order by the court. This trial has successfully demonstrated that cost is a barrier to uptake, with a total of 207 interlocks installed between September 2015 and June 2016 (120 of which were funded by the trial), compared with 141 offenders taking up an interlock device in the nine months before the trial began. By the end of June, a further 55 participants had signed up under this trial and will have their interlocks installed in the next few months. Both of these road safety programmes complement those provided by partner agencies such as NZ Police and other organisations.
Corrections carried out 4,419 drug tests in prisons under the general random drug testing regime during 2015/16 (2014/15: 4,454). The number of drug tests returning a positive was 3.4%. The Drug and Alcohol Testing of Community-based Offenders and Bailees Legislation Bill is being considered by Parliament. The bill will allow drug and alcohol testing of offenders on community-based sentences, when they are subject to conditions prohibiting consumption or use. When the bill is passed it will enable Corrections and NZ Police to require such offenders to undergo drug and alcohol testing, greatly improving our capacity to hold offenders to account and maintain the integrity of their sentences.
A report on the operation of every security contract in force for the whole, or any part, of the year to which the Annual Report relates, including:
- a summary of reports forwarded to the Chief Executive under section 171(2) or (3) and a summary of reports made to the Chief Executive under section 172(2)(b)
- a summary of actions taken in relation to the operation of security contracts as a result of matters raised in any report forwarded or made.
Training provided to security officers employed by the Contractor
Prisoner Escorting & Court Custodial Services (PECCS) officers have all completed their current training in control and
restraint and first aid, and all staff receive monthly toolbox updates. In addition, all new staff have completed their
company induction training, health and safety induction, and Prisoner Escorting & Court Custodial Services modular
training and seven staff have completed Class 2 Driver training.
The number and nature of complaints made by persons in relation to the carrying out, by security officers employed by the Contractor, of escort duties in respect of those persons, and how those complaints were resolved
One complaint was made by a prisoner in relation to security officers employed by the Contractor. The complaint was investigated and found to be without substance; no further action was taken.
The number and nature of any incidents involving violence by or against prisoners while in the custody of security officers employed by the Contractor
There were two reported incidents involving violence by prisoners against other prisoners while in the custody of security officers employed by the Contractor. Both incidents were non-serious and did not result in injury.
The number and nature of any incidents involving violence against security officers employed by the Contractor while carrying out escort duties or courtroom custodial duties
There were no reported incidents involving violence by prisoners against security officers employed by the Contractor while carrying out escort duties or courtroom custodial duties.
The number and nature of any incidents involving self-inflicted injuries to prisoners while in the custody of security officers employed by the Contractor
There were no reported incidents involving self-inflicted injuries to prisoners while in the custody of security officers employed by the Contractor.
The compliance, by security officers employed by the Contractor, with the requirements of sections 83, 84, 85, 87, and 88 of the Corrections Act 2004
A total of 37 incidents were recorded in this area. All were deemed to be compliant with the requirements as specified in the Corrections Act 2004.
The exercise, by security officers employed by the Contractor, of the powers conferred by sections 98 and 101 of the Corrections Act 2004 in order to perform the functions of security officers
A total of 41,911 searches were recorded by security officers employed by the Contractor during the reporting year. This included 4,571 rub searches and three strip searches.
The number and nature of any disciplinary actions taken against security officers employed by the Contractor, and the reasons for, and the outcomes of, those actions, including any penalties imposed
Disciplinary proceedings were initiated against three security officer employed by the Contractor for actions deemed to be misconduct. The proceedings resulted in two summary dismissals and one final written warning.
A report on the operation of every contract prison that was in operation for the whole or any part of the year to which the annual report relates.
Auckland South Corrections Facility
On 10 September 2012, Corrections engaged in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with SecureFuture Wiri Limited (SecureFuture) to design, build, finance, operate and maintain Auckland South Corrections Facility (ASCF). ASCF is a 960 bed men’s prison with security classification ranging from low to high.
On 18 May 2015, SecureFuture took over operational management of ASCF and prisoner build-up commenced. In October 2015, the site reached full prisoner capacity.
The aims of the PPP agreement between Corrections and SecureFuture are to ensure the provision of a secure, safe, and positive environment for sentence compliance, reducing re-offending, and improving outcomes for Mäori prisoners.
The Department employs two prison monitors at ASCF to provide assurance on SecureFuture’s compliance with the relevant policies and procedures, the PPP agreement, legislation and mandatory international prison standards. As with all prisons, ASCF is subject to the wider Justice Sector’s scrutiny, monitoring by the independent Ombudsmen’s proactive investigations, and further assurance through the monitoring and reporting carried out by the prison Inspectorate.
Under the PPP Agreement, SecureFuture is required to provide a range of reports to Corrections. These reports provide information on custodial, rehabilitation and reintegration performance. The performance regime within the Agreement contains 37 custodial and 16 rehabilitation and reintegration Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to which financial penalties apply. The zero tolerance approach taken to many of the custodial KPIs, including serious assaults, highlights Corrections’ ongoing commitment to safety and security.
Corrections’ commitment to ensuring a safe and secure site is evidenced by the implementation of a comprehensive performance framework which includes Service Failure Points for instances where SecureFuture fails to perform the services to the required standard. Service Failure Points accumulate over a nine month period before “rolling off”. However, if Service Failure Points accumulate beyond set contracted thresholds within the nine month period, further contractual requirements such as additional reporting, abatements and rectification plans may be triggered.
SecureFuture is incentivised to ensure the safe and secure operation of ASCF through a rigorous performance regime. As part of this regime, repeat incidents incur sharp increases in financial penalties when thresholds are crossed. Additionally, charges of up to $600,000 can be applied for specified charge events which include escapes, riots and unnatural deaths.
The PPP agreement includes a financial incentive for the sole purpose of reducing re-offending, which is a key priority for Corrections. SecureFuture is required to show a 10% improvement (or greater) compared to Corrections’ performance to receive the incentive payment. This incentive payment is only available on a 24 month cycle.
The numbers of serious assaults at ASCF during 2015/16 were comparable to Corrections run prisons and there were zero self-harm threat to life incidents during the year.
In its first year of operation, ASCF has performed as expected with no charge events occurring. Further, the financial penalties and Service Failure Points applied during the Performance Year primarily relate to the bedding in period for procedural focussed KPIs. Accordingly, improvements in performance are expected as SecureFuture’s approach to the management of the ASCF site matures.
Section 15A of the Parole Act 2002
Section 15A(4) of the Parole Act 2002 requires the Department of Corrections to include in its Annual Report information about the use of electronic monitoring.
The information required covers:
- the number of offenders who were at any time subject to an electronic monitoring condition
- the average number of offenders who were subject to an electronic monitoring condition and the average duration of the condition
- the percentage of offenders who, while subject to an electronic monitoring condition attached to an extended supervision order, were convicted for a breach of the condition, or convicted of any other offence
- a description of processes and systems relating to electronic monitoring that were in place during the year reported on.
Corrections manages offenders on parole and extended supervision, who are electronically monitored on a residential restrictions special condition under the provisions of section 15(3)(ab). The following information relates to offenders subject to electronic monitoring under either section 15(3)(f) or section 15(3)(ab) of the Parole Act 2002 for the financial year to 30 June 2016.
As at 30 June 2016, 199 offenders were subject to electronic monitoring as a condition of parole or extended supervision.
For the financial year ending 30 June 2016, the average number of offenders who were at any time subject to electronic monitoring as a condition of parole or extended supervision was 174; 88 as a condition of parole and 86 as a condition of extended supervision. The average length of time that they were subject to such conditions during the financial year was 1,150 days, equivalent to three years and 55 days.
During the year ending 30 June 2016, among offenders subject to an electronic monitoring condition attached to an extended supervision order, nine (8% of the total)2 were convicted for an electronically monitored specific breach and 15 (13.4% of the total) for other breaches.
Offenders subject to electronic monitoring are required to wear an electronic anklet at all times to allow Corrections to monitor their location. If the offender tries to remove the anklet or leaves the monitored address without permission, an alert is triggered and action is taken to assess the offender’s whereabouts.
Offenders subject to an electronic monitoring condition may be required to submit to Global Positioning System (GPS) monitoring. GPS monitoring enhances the ability of Corrections to monitor an offender’s compliance with any special condition they have related to their location in the community. It provides real-time information on an offender’s location, which allows early detection of an offender entering prohibited locations or leaving a place in which they must remain.
2 Please note that this only includes instances where the re-offending was identified and the offender convicted during the 2015/16 financial year.