The Department of Corrections - Strategic Direction

The Department's strategic direction is consistent with, and contributes to, the Government's vision and priorities for the next decade, in particular Families - young and old. The strategic direction centres primarily on the justice sector end outcomes of 'safer communities' and 'a fairer, more credible and more effective justice system', supported by the achievement of the Department's two outcomes of 'protecting the public' and 'reducing re-offending'.

The Department's Focus

The Department contributes to 'protecting the public' by:

  • providing a safe environment for staff and the public
  • managing offenders in a safe, secure and humane manner
  • ensuring appropriate compliance with, and administration of, sentences and orders
  • providing information to the judiciary to inform the sentencing process and release conditions
  • supporting reparation to the community.

The Department contributes to 'reducing re-offending' through changing offending behaviour by providing targeted rehabilitative and reintegrative initiatives, including education, work experience and skills.

To do this, the Department supplies:

  • a risk and needs assessment for each offender to determine how best to address their offending behaviour
  • programmes to encourage offenders to address their offending behaviour
  • programmes to address offenders- offence-related needs
  • education, training and work experience to assist offenders to secure employment on release
  • assistance with accessing community services.

The Department's Strategic Business Plan

The Department's Strategic Business Plan 2003-2008 sets the overall direction for the organisation, within the framework of the broader outcomes desined for the wider justice sector and the context of the Department's focus on its outcomes of 'protecting the public' and 'reducing re-offending'.

The plan is based around four themes that provide the strategic framework for the Department to deliver on its outcomes and address the issues impacting on its operations. The four themes, which provide priority areas that assist staff and managers to focus their efforts, are:

  • Ensuring Effective Offender Management.
  • Improving Responsiveness to Maori.
  • Reducing Re-offending.
  • Enhancing Capability and Capacity.

Within each theme is a series of strategies and initiatives to guide the Department towards the achievement of its outcomes.

The Department's Strategic Business Plan 2003-2008 is supported by a Maori Strategic Plan, a Pacific Strategy and four operational strategies.

The following diagram summarises the linkages from the Department's strategic framework through delivery of outputs and initiatives set out in this Statement of Intent to departmental and justice sector outcomes and key government goals.

Overview of the Department of Corrections Strategic Framework


View larger Strategic Framework image (jpg: 65KB)

Over the next year, the Department will begin preparing a new strategic business plan to cover the five-year period from 1 July 2006.

The Department's Medium-term Direction

The Department has concentrated in recent years on interventions that are directly related to the outcome of 'protecting the public', while continuing to development initiatives to support the outcome of 'reducing re-offending'.

This approach reflects the balance between resources devoted to producing outputs that contribute to protecting the public (85 percent of the Department's output costs are linked to this outcome, providing the core custodial services, community-based sentences and information to support the judiciary and the New Zealand Parole Board). Successful investment in this area has been demonstrated through positive results from the relevant indicators (such as rates of incidents), as reported in successive annual reports.

While significant progress has been made towards the outcome of 'protecting the public', it is important to ensure that the gains made are not eroded given the current pressure on prison facilities in terms of the higher than forecast prison population and the challenges of maintaining the required number of prison staff in a bouyant labour market. Therefore, it is essential that a strong focus remains on the effectiveness of the Department's operations that contribute directly to protecting the public.

However, it is recognised that the successful reduction of re-offending presents a better long-term promise of a positive impact on safer communities. In regard to reducing re-offending, the Department has developed rehabilitative interventions that are founded on what is known to work and on international best practice. It is internationally recognised that the greatest gains in reducing re-offending will be made through a combination of best practice sentence management, appropriate rehabilitation programmes and a focus on reintegrating offenders back into the community. The Department has worked to ensure programmes are adjusted to be effective for the New Zealand corrections system.

Since 2005/06, the Department has placed increased emphasis on the development of rehabilitation and reintegration initiatives. The key priorities for 2006/07 agreed with the Minister of Corrections continue this focus to ensure consistent approaches to managing and rehabilitating offenders. These priorities are set out in detail in the next section of this Statement of Intent.

As noted above, during 2006/07, development will begin on a new strategic plan for the five-year period from 1 July 2008. By the time the new strategic plan is prepared, the Department will have commissioned all four of the new regional prisons, together with other infrastructure improvements, such as the expansion of existing facilities. Overall capacity and capability, including staff and management capability, will be considerably advanced. Although there are continuing challenges to provide adequate capacity, capability development during this period of growth in offender numbers provides an opportunity to develop services that balance needs against regional demands through the comprehensive distribution of services.

Longer-term goals will need to emphasise the contribution the Department can make to reducing re-offending. Initiatives underway since 2005/06, particularly the emphasis on improved reintegration of offenders into the community following prison sentences, should be delivering enhanced performance. Evaluation of existing rehabilitative programmes will also inform the Department's future direction.