Public safety is improved

Public safety is improved

Keeping communities safe by ensuring offenders complete the sentences and orders handed down by our justice system and are held to account if they don’t. This will always be our bottom line.


For New Zealanders to trust their justice system, public safety must be maintained.

This means that:

  • offenders serve the sentences and orders that they are sentenced to by the courts
  • Corrections manages sentences and orders in ways that meet the legislative requirements
  • the Judiciary and the Parole Board base their decisions about offenders on good quality information.

We will demonstrate our success through:

  • more offenders complying with their sentences and orders, or experiencing proper enforcement action when they have not complied
  • all prisoners being released on their lawfully-required release date.

There are three impacts that contribute to this outcome.

The integrity of sentences and orders is maintained and offenders are held to account

We improve public safety by ensuring that offenders comply with and complete their sentences and orders and, if there are any breaches of sentences and orders, taking appropriate enforcement action. Similarly, well-managed and secure corrections’ facilities have few escapes, and minimal crime within prisons (such as introducing contraband).
We will enhance the quality of practice within Community Probation Services, and lift the performance of Prison Services to achieve a recognised world standard.

Security at prisons has become so robust that breakout escapes are now very rare events. In 2009/10 Corrections achieved the lowest ever rate of escapes – 0.11 escapes per 100 prisoners, compared with 0.70 escapes per 100 prisoners 10 years ago. Almost all prisoners serve their legitimate sentence. We have also succeeded in reducing contraband and we are working to reduce this still further.

In the community, offender compliance with sentences and orders has improved due to the introduction of new practice frameworks for sentences and orders. This is still an area of focus, as is holding those offenders who do not comply with their sentences and orders to account.

To improve this impact, Corrections will:

  • continue Community Probation Services’ change programme to deliver an approach that ensures that offenders comply with the requirements of their sentences and orders, reduces the likelihood of re-offending, and minimises risks to others
  • absorb and manage increased numbers of sentences and orders within existing departmental resources
  • absorb and manage increased demand for the provision of offender related reports within existing departmental resources
  • better manage high-risk offenders in the community through a coordinated approach with Police
  • identify and prioritise investment in initiatives that further improve the security of our prison environments
  • upgrade prisons progressively to achieve best design principles for the safety, humane containment and rehabilitation of prisoners
  • use technology more effectively to ensure offenders are meeting their sentence and order obligations.


We will demonstrate our success through:

  • more offenders complying with their sentences and orders, or being held to account when they have not complied
  • low rates of escapes from custody
  • a decreased percentage of positive general random drug tests within prisons
  • Maori offenders showing improved results in the indicators above.

Risks of harm to others are minimised

We manage offenders in ways that minimises their risk of harm to others. This means managing prisoners to prevent assaults on staff and other prisoners. In the community, it means reducing the risk that offenders pose to staff and other offenders, and especially to the wider community.

Over the past year, we have focused on building the skills of Corrections Officers to make prisons safer. Last year we trained Corrections Officers to better prevent and manage incidents in prisons. Alongside this, personal protective equipment was provided to prisons which Corrections Officers can use to stay safe if an incident does occur, and at risk and high-risk prisoners’ access to razors was restricted. These initiatives saw the rate of serious assaults in prisons drop by 26 percent in 2009/10.

Within the community, staff are working with new practice frameworks that support them to better use their judgement in assessing community-based offenders’ risks of harm to the community, and to manage offenders in a way that minimises these risks. Many of these frameworks have been implemented over the past two years, and will continue to be implemented over the next year. Community Probation Services staff also work closely with Police and Prison Services to identify high-risk community-based offenders and to manage them appropriately.

To improve this impact, Corrections will:

  • identify specific work that staff can undertake directly with community-based offenders to decrease their likelihood of re-offending and decrease their risk of harm to others by commencing the next phase of probation practice design
  • maximise our ability to use new technologies to track and manage high risk offenders
  • work with Police to prevent incidents of family violence by community-based offenders occurring at high risk times
  • develop an indicator to measure reductions in community-based offenders’ risk of harm to others.

We will demonstrate our success through:

decreasing rates of serious prisoner assaults, both on staff and on other prisoners.

The Judiciary and Parole Board make informed decisions

The Judiciary and Parole Board make decisions that are, in part, based on information provided by Corrections staff in reports, and at court and Parole Board hearings. To improve this impact we will review the Parole Board processes to ensure they better support the victims of crime and are more cost-effective.

We will demonstrate our success through:

  • reduced rates of re-offending committed by offenders on parole or home detention
  • improved reports to the Judiciary and the Parole Board – more reports provided within agreed timeframes and to agreed standards pursuant to the Judiciary’s and the Parole Board’s requirements
  • all offenders being notified as per the Parole Board’s requirements
  • all victims being notified as per the Parole Board’s requirements
  • all cases to be heard by the Parole Board being scheduled no later than 16 weeks from the date of the hearing.