Re-offending is reduced

Re-offending is reduced

Cutting the rates of re-offending leaves fewer victims and adds significantly to the social well-being of our communities as offenders become productive members of our society. This is our ultimate goal.

To reduce overall crime in New Zealand, Corrections works with individual offenders to provide them with skills so that they do not re-offend. Motivating and assisting offenders to adopt an offence-free lifestyle leads to less crime in the community and fewer people in prison or on community-based sentences and orders.

We will place offenders at the centre of our efforts to achieve better outcomes and strive to ensure every offender has the opportunity to work.

Re-offending is reduced when offenders:

  • undertake rehabilitation which helps them to address behaviours which contributed to their offending
  • acquire employment-relevant skills, qualifications and experience that lead to sustainable employment on release from prison
  • address reintegrative needs to enable them to re-integrate back into the community
  • have their health and well-being looked after, and are managed fairly and decently.

We will demonstrate our success in reducing re-offending by using the Recidivism Index. This index measures the rate of re-conviction and re-imprisonment/ imprisonment of offenders following their release from prison or the commencement of community-based sentences and orders. The index also measures the degree of seriousness of offending in comparison to previous offending. This allows us to track the relative seriousness of new offending over time. This measure is also one of three key justice sector key performance indicators.

There are two impacts that contribute to this outcome.

Offenders have the skills and support to lead law-abiding lives

Offenders typically have life-long problems, such as addiction, mental health issues, early school dropout, poor literacy, lack of employment skills and dysfunctional family relationships.

We are placing offenders at the centre of our efforts to achieve better outcomes.

Over the last year, we have been fundamentally changing our approach to offender rehabilitation. The new Rehabilitation and Reintegration Services will integrate all our rehabilitation programmes and psychological support with prisoner employment and education, and provide offenders with a consistent, end-to-end approach to their rehabilitation and reintegration. Case Managers will work with offenders to assess their needs in a holistic way and to plan a programme of rehabilitative interventions that will better build skills and help them to address and overcome their offending behaviours.

The effectiveness of our new approach will rest on targeting rehabilitation at those offenders who are at a higher risk of re-offending, targeting the characteristics of offenders that are causally linked to offending, and building offenders’ personal motivation for change.

The Department will provide a comprehensive package of services to each offender to help them overcome their offending behaviour. This might mean, for instance, that over a single prison sentence an offender experiences a motivational course, followed by literacy tuition, employment skills training, a psychologically-based programme to address criminal thinking patterns and poor self-control, and finally, around the time of release, assistance with locating suitable accommodation, employment and social support.

Improving offenders’ education and employment skills is an important element of rehabilitation as offenders who obtain employment on release from prison are less likely to re-offend than those who remain unemployed.

We will work to ensure Maori offenders succeed in rehabilitation, employment and education programmes at a comparable rate to non-Maori. Through involvement of iwi, hapu and whanau, more Maori offenders will successfully reintegrate into their communities on release from prison.

We have opened new Drug Treatment Units in our prisons to double the number of places on drug treatment programmes to 1000. We will continue to increase the availability of drug and alcohol treatment programmes across all of our prisons.

Supporting rehabilitation is a core responsibility of our frontline staff. Frontline staff interact with offenders in ways that role-model pro-social attitudes and behaviour, build motivation for change, and positively influence offenders to engage in structured rehabilitation programmes and courses.

To improve this impact, we will:

  • implement the new and more effective approach to rehabilitation and reintegration including ensuring the right offenders in the right places at the right time get the right things
  • identify specific work that probation officers can undertake directly with offenders to decrease the likelihood of re-offending and decrease the risk of harm to others by commencing the next phase of probation practice design
  • provide improved reintegrative support within a Tikanga Maori environment, engaging the wider community, whanau, hapu and iwi in helping prisoners to live an offence-free lifestyle by implementing Whare Oranga Ake at Spring Hill Corrections Facility and Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison
  • strengthen rehabilitation services and outcomes in all five Maori Focus Units in prisons
  • increase the number of drug and alcohol treatment programme places for prisoners to 1000 per annum by 2012, including opening a new Drug Treatment Unit in Wanganui Prison
  • work with District Health Boards and the Ministry of Health to achieve local solutions to enhance community drug and alcohol treatment provided to offenders
  • take a more active management approach to our daily interaction with prisoners, ensuring we are always focused on reducing re-offending
  • increase the number of prisoners participating in employment activities by:
  • continuing the Prisoner Skills and Employment Strategy
  • delivering a range of training opportunities that specifically prepare prisoners for labouring and trades relevant to the rebuilding of Christchurch
  • taking maximum advantage of the employment services offered by Work and Income through joint planning and preparation of offenders for jobs and placement in jobs re-release
  • improve rehabilitation for prisoners aged under 25 years old, including strengthening schooling opportunities
  • develop a strategy to reduce gang influence in prison and re-offending by gang members
  • incorporate reintegration planning into offenders’ plans at the beginning of their sentences, and improve engagement and connectivity with community groups who support reintegration activities
  • review the nature, quantum and quality of rehabilitation options available for offenders serving community-based sentences and orders
  • align the work of volunteers and Prison Chaplaincy with rehabilitative outcomes
  • enhance rehabilitation opportunities for segregated prisoners
  • develop an indicator to measure the reduced likelihood and seriousness of re-offending by community based offenders
  • work with the Ministry of Social Development and the Inland Revenue Department to identify data matching opportunities to measure the percentage of prisoners who are employed post-release from prison and to monitor the sustainability of employment
  • develop an indicator to measure the percentage of prisoners who find stable accommodation post-release from prison.

We will demonstrate our success through:

  • reduced re-offending rates from key rehabilitative programmes
  • reduced likelihood and seriousness of re-offending by community-based offenders
  • more skills being gained by prisoners including:
  • increased average number of credits achieved under the National Qualification Framework
  • increased percentage of prisoners who demonstrate measurable improvements in literacy and numeracy after starting classroom-based adult literacy and numeracy courses
  • more prisoners finding stable employment on release from prison, including:
  • increased percentage of Release To Work prisoners with secured employment on release
  • Maori offenders showing improved results from rehabilitation and skill development, as measured in the above indicators.

Offenders’ health and wellbeing is maintained

By providing offenders with a fair, safe, secure and healthy environment they will be encouraged and supported to change towards an offence-free lifestyle.

We will treat offenders fairly and meet their legitimate health, physical, cultural, spiritual and social needs. For prisoners, we will provide the necessities of life (food, shelter and clothing); adequate primary health care; opportunities to maintain relationships with family and friends; religious, spiritual and cultural support; access to legal advisors and statutory visitors; access to information and education; and access to a reasonable level of physical exercise.

We will incorporate Tikanga Maori into the ways that we deliver services. Our staff will be highly responsive to the needs of Maori offenders.

We will provide primary health care to prisoners. Every new prisoner will have their health needs assessed with on-going care and treatment provided according to their clinical needs.

From July 2011 all prisons will be smoke-free to improve the health status of prisoners and our staff. Prisoners and staff are being offered support to quit smoking before the smoking ban takes effect.

We will continue to provide the Corrections Inspectorate under the provisions of section 28 of the Corrections Act 2004. The Inspectorate resolves complaints, investigates issues and provides an assurance function to prison-based and community-based offenders in relation to matters affecting their management or treatment. The Corrections Inspectorate reports directly to the Chief Executive and is independent from operational line management.

To improve this impact we will:

  • implement the Mental Health Screening Tool with the support of the regional forensic mental health services
  • make all prisons smoke-free
  • develop an indicator to measure the proportion of prisoners with health needs that have been managed during their time in prison.

We will demonstrate our success through:

  • decreased rates of unnatural deaths of prisoners
  • fewer incidents of self-harm by prisoners
  • fewer justified complaints to the Corrections Inspectorate and Ombudsmen
  • fewer justified complaints by prisoners relating to the provision of health services
  • improved health and wellbeing for Maori offenders.