Chief Executive's Overview
I am pleased to present my first overview as Chief Executive of the Department of Corrections.
The key focus for the 2005/06 year will be on consolidating the gains made by the Department in recent years towards its outcome of Protecting the Public, while taking a fresh look at measures designed to reduce re-offending, including the introduction of a number of new reintegrative initiatives.
This Statement of Intent represents the middle year of the Department's five-year Strategic Business Plan 2003-2008 and outlines how the Department will continue the progress made in the previous two years towards fulfilling the promise of the plan. The overall strategic direction outlined in the plan remains valid, and will continue to guide the Department through to 2008. This Statement of Intent places the Department's work firmly in the context of justice sector planning to meet key Government goals. The Department will participate fully in further sector planning in 2005/06, as it is only through enhanced collaboration between agencies that shared outcomes will be achieved.
In terms of responding to change, the Government has put in place the legislative base and provided the resources necessary for the Department to deliver against its primary outcome of Safer Communities.
Early in 2005/06, the Auckland Central Remand Prison will move from private management and be integrated into the Public Prisons Service. The major development of the Department's facilities will continue. The first of the new regional prisons, the Northland Region Corrections Facility, opened in March this year. Construction of the Auckland Region Women's Corrections Facility in Manukau will be completed during the financial year and construction of the Spring Hill Corrections Facility and the Otago Region Corrections Facility will continue. Significant additional capacity will also be provided at existing prison sites in response to the growth in the prison population. Prison security will be enhanced through investment in monitoring of prisoners' telephone calls and increased crime prevention information capability.
Investment is not only being made in facilities and infrastructure, but also in our people. Significant resources have been provided to improve staff and management capability. These include a comprehensive management development programme and several key initiatives to enhance the capacity of Community Probation Service managers and staff to improve the management of offenders in the community. Improving the capability of our people and their support systems is essential to the development of the Department's best practice performance and to achieving better results across all the dimensions of offender management.
There will be a continued emphasis on consolidating the gains that have been made in improving the way our people work across the Department and with other agencies. Several initiatives in this Statement of Intent aim to coordinate processes and procedures across the Department in core aspects of offender management.
These developments provide the basis for the Department to deliver improved initiatives designed to reduce the rate of re-offending. In this regard, the Department will focus on the Government's priorities for improving the rehabilitation of offenders, both in prison and in the community. In particular, much work is being done to improve training and employment opportunities for offenders and to provide better services to support the reintegration into the community of offenders following release from prison or completion of community-based sentences.
The Department will maintain its commitment to Maori, by continuing the range of initiatives intended to fulfil the promise of our Maori Strategic Plan under its three key themes of building partnerships with Maori, being effective for Maori and being responsive to Maori. The Department will be issuing a new Pacific Strategy during the year, looking to support and extend the range of specific services and programmes that support the management and rehabilitation of Pacific offenders.
This Statement of Intent also continues the Department's work towards a robust sustainable development framework, providing additional information on how the Department conducts its business.
While the year ahead will be largely one of consolidation, there are many significant challenges for the organisation and its people. I look forward to working with our people as we face those challenges.