Annual Report 2017/18

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Chief Executive's Overview

Corrections was established in 1995 based on the principles of public safety and rehabilitation – two values that bind us as an organisation to this day.
Maintaining these values is more important than ever before as we navigate a corrections system that is much larger than it was a few years ago.

When I joined Corrections in 2010, one thing I noticed was the complex link between trauma, vulnerability and crime. Many of our most challenging offenders were raised in poverty and grew up exposed to gangs and overwhelming violence. When they arrive at Corrections, many are in poor physical health, are presenting with mental health or substance abuse disorders, are homeless and unemployed, and are lacking even basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Over my time at Corrections, we have worked hard to equip offenders with the tools and skills they need to turn their lives around. However, the reality is that many of these people have been damaged over sustained periods and resolving their problems is not something that can be achieved quickly. Before we can even begin addressing the core drivers of offending through specialised offence-focused programmes, we must ensure offenders are physically and mentally healthy, and have the literacy skills needed to engage in their rehabilitative pathway.

Since 2010, we have prioritised mental health, education and rehabilitation in a way that has never before been achieved in New Zealand’s corrections system. Each year we deliver programmes and interventions to thousands
of prisoners and community-based offenders. We have also closed outdated prisons at New Plymouth, Wellington and Mt Eden and opened two new modern corrections facilities1 designed specifically to improve the safety, wellbeing, and rehabilitation of the prisoners in our care.

Alongside rehabilitation, we have invested heavily in offenders’ futures outside of the care and custody of Corrections. This has included establishing relationships with hundreds of potential employers and securing employment for thousands of ex-prisoners and community-based offenders.

In 2017/18, we continued to build on the progress of past years. Two major areas of work that stood out for me were our continued response to the larger prisoner population, and our ongoing efforts to ensure offenders are given the greatest opportunity possible to turn their lives around.

Our response to the larger prison population has included recruiting hundreds of custodial staff in the past year, bringing hundreds of new prison beds into service, and establishing the High Impact Innovation Programme – a Corrections-led programme that is maximising safe alternatives to prison. We’ve helped offenders turn their lives around by launching and progressing our women’s strategy to improve how we manage women in our care, expanding the reintegration services and guided release opportunities available to prisoners, improving how we address alcohol and other drugs issues among prisoners and building new and meaningful relationships with iwi across the country.

This is my final Annual Report as the Chief Executive of Corrections. As I look back at my time here, I am truly proud of how far we, as a team, have come and how we have responded to some incredibly complex challenges. As you will read in this Annual Report, the team at Corrections is still dedicated to building on the principles of public safety and rehabilitation that originally brought us together in 1995. This dedication is, perhaps, what
makes me most proud of my time here.

Ray Smith
Chief Executive