Briefing to Incoming Minister December 2020

Message from the Chief Executive

Congratulations on your appointment as Minister of Corrections. We are excited to have you on board. We are ready to discuss your key priorities and how we can support you during your time as our Minister.

The Department of Corrections/Ara Poutama Aotearoa1 is one of New Zealand’s largest core government agencies. We manage an operating expenditure of $1.8 billion and an asset base of approximately $4 billion. Corrections’ 10,000 staff are responsible for around 38,000 people on sentences or orders in prison and in the community on any given day. Supporting people under our care and management, their whānau, victims and our staff is at the centre of what we do. Kotahi anō te kaupapa: ko te oranga o te iwi – There is only one purpose to our work: the wellness and wellbeing of people.

The launch of our departmental strategy Hōkai Rangi last year outlined our commitment to reducing the overrepresentation of Māori under our care and management. We recognise that we cannot do this alone, and it is crucial we work with our justice sector partners to achieve our goals.

One of our highest priorities is investing in the wellbeing and capability of our staff. This will better enable them to develop relationships with people in our care and management and their whānau, which are based on manaaki and contribute positively to their wellbeing. This approach helps promote safer New Zealand communities and supports the interests of the public by providing opportunities for people who have committed crime to re-build their lives in order to reduce their chances of reoffending. We also know that to support people’s wellbeing they need to feel safe in the environments they are placed in, and that our staff need to feel safe in their place of work.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted opportunities to innovate and work flexibly to achieve our strategic goals and fulfil our duty of care to the people we manage and our staff. The hard work of our staff has successfully kept people in prisons safe and connected with their whānau.

The proportion of people on remand in prison awaiting trial has been gradually increasing over time and is currently at 35 percent of the prison population. We are working with our sector partners to reduce the remand population, and are rethinking how we can support people on remand to access services and programmes.

As stewards of the corrections system, we are committed to providing you with effective, free and frank advice that will best enable you to undertake your role as Minister.

Once again, congratulations and we look forward to working with you.

Jeremy Lightfoot

Read the Briefing to the Incoming Minister December 2020 in full.