The Department of Corrections cannot achieve its outcomes on its own. Strong partnerships improve:
- outcomes for offenders – both reduced re-offending and enhanced sentence and order compliance
- innovation based on a range of perspectives
- access to expertise from outside the Department
- services that reduce re-offending across the community, not only within the Departmental environment
- implementation of services in specific cultural, geographical and social situations.
The Department works with many other organisations to deliver programmes, activities and services to offenders. These organisations include public sector agencies, non-government organisations, training and educational organisations, community groups and volunteers. It is also reliant on employers providing work opportunities for offenders to gain on-the-job skills and experience.
Every day the Department works with partners in the community. Significant relationships with iwi and specialist Māori service providers have been established in many regions, along with increasing recognition of the value of the Department’s long standing relationships with volunteer based groups such as the NZ Prisoners’ Aid and Rehabilitation, Prison Chaplains and Prison Fellowship NZ. Many groups benefit from the community work that offenders do. Over 3,000 volunteers work each year with offenders. Employers benefit from prisoners working in their business. Many rehabilitative services are delivered by partner organisations. The fact is that partnership is an integral element of how the Department achieves its outcomes.
The Chief Executive has a Māori Advisory Group and a Pacific Advisory Group to guide policy and operational decisions on how the Department can be more effective for Māori and Pacific peoples. The Department works closely with local iwi to ensure that its services are delivered in ways that work best for Māori. The Department runs specialist programmes and units focusing on the unique needs of Māori and Pacific offenders.
Partnership and collaboration have been strengthening across the justice sector. Joint solutions are being implemented to tackle persistent justice sector issues. Effective Interventions is an example of a justice sector approach being tackled to reduce offending and, in turn, the growth in the prison population.
Strong partnerships have been built with the health sector. These partnerships are particularly important given the special health needs of the offender population, and the links that issues such as mental health and drug and alcohol abuse have to offending behaviour.
The Department will seek to improve its responsiveness to the Government’s community partnerships policy. Currently the Department is working to implement a revised approach to developing relationships and managing contracts with partner non-government organisations. It is working on improving national level partnerships which support the work of front-line staff. As part of this, a stock-take of partnerships and relationships across the Department will be undertaken to understand clearly who its partners are, and how its relationship with them can be enhanced.