Nature and scope of function

The Department of Corrections is responsible for managing some of New Zealand’s most challenging people. We manage, on average, over 40,000 offenders per year: approximately 8,500 are being held in our prisons, and approximately 32,000 are managed in the community, serving a community-based sentence or order.

We employ over 8,000 people (7,651 FTEs) who work with offenders in our 17 prisons and 125 community probation sites throughout the country. There is also one privately managed prison, operated by Serco.

Corrections’ work is carried out in accordance with the purposes and principles set out in sections five and six of the Corrections Act 2004.

Improving public safety and contributing to the maintenance of a just society

As identified in the Corrections Act 2004, the purpose of Corrections is to improve public safety and contribute to the maintenance of a just society by:

  • assisting in the rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into the community through the provision of programmes and other interventions
  • ensuring that the custodial and community-based sentences and orders imposed by the Courts and New Zealand Parole Board are administered in a safe, secure, humane, and effective manner
  • providing for corrections facilities to be operated in accordance with the Corrections Act 2004 that are based, amongst other matters, on the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
  • providing information to the Courts and New Zealand Parole Board to assist their decision-making.

The principles we observe

In meeting this purpose, we observe the following principles:

  • maintaining public safety
  • considering victims’ interests, and providing access to restorative justice where appropriate
  • providing access to rehabilitative and reintegrative support
  • ensuring fair treatment of offenders, taking into account their cultural background, ethnicity, and language
  • encouraging and supporting contact between offenders and their families where appropriate.