Reducing re-offending


Reducing re-offending adds significantly to the safety and social well-being of our communities.

This is our ultimate goal.

Reducing re-offending flowchart (PDF 47KB).

Our goal is to reduce re-offending by 25 percent by 2017. This will mean 600 fewer prisoners re-imprisoned one year after release, and 4,000 fewer offenders reconvicted within a year of beginning their community-based sentence.

Our interventions can create lasting change in offenders’ lives. Re-offending levels have decreased moderately, and we will continue to build on this success. It is recognised that activities that contribute to reducing re-offending may not have an immediate impact on the reducing re-offending targets. This is because offenders are participating in activities before they are counted in the Recidivism Index calculations. As we continue to improve and expand our interventions, and as prisoners complete programmes, receive post-release support, and spend time out in the community, more progress against the targets is expected.

Re-offending is reduced when offenders:

  • participate in interventions to address behaviours that contribute to their offending
  • receive training and skills to enable them to secure employment when released from prison
  • are healthy and have the skills to be positive role models
  • are managed fairly and decently whilst in our custody
  • are supported through engagement with iwi and community groups.

We will place offenders at the centre of our efforts, providing individual offenders with education, training, employment, and other rehabilitative and reintegrative support. We will enhance our case managers and probation officers’ capabilities to support our goal.
We cannot achieve our goal alone. Offenders will be better supported to turn their lives around if we work with Government agencies and community groups.

By 2016, we will demonstrate our success through:

  • 3,833 fewer offenders re-offending.


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

Offenders typically have life-long problems, such as poor literacy, low levels of educational attainment, lack of employment skills, dysfunctional family relationships, mental health issues, and addiction.

We work with offenders through rehabilitative interventions to build skills, and help them to address problems and overcome their offending behaviours. We have strengthened our interventions and provided more opportunities for prisoners and community-based offenders to participate in activities that support their rehabilitation. We will monitor and evaluate our programmes, and build on them
to ensure we deliver quality interventions.

Over the next three years, we will work with iwi, community groups, employers, and other stakeholders to reduce re-offending by 25 percent by:

  • increasing the range and availability of drug and alcohol treatment for offenders
  • expanding effective rehabilitation programmes, with increased focus on those on remand, those serving short sentences, community-based offenders, female offenders, and young offenders
  • developing a Youth Strategy to maximise rehabilitation options for young offenders
  • expanding education and training programmes to provide prisoners with the skills to secure employment upon release
  • implementing working prisons and increasing prisoners’ participation in employment
  • working with employers and industry to provide real jobs for offenders after release from prison
  • expanding the capabilities of probation staff and case managers by:
    • increasing the focus on motivational approaches
    • enhancing relapse prevention capability
    • developing whanau engagement skills
    • developing the rehabilitation services provided directly by probation officers for higher-risk offenders completing community-based sentences.
  • fostering partnerships with iwi and communities to support offenders’ social and accommodation needs through two new reintegration centres.

By 2016, we will demonstrate our success through:

  • 8,500 prisoners achieving recognised qualifications
  • 30 percent of prisoners will be in employment six months after release
  • 50 percent of prisoners securing employment with their Release to Work employer on release


Offenders' health and well-being is maintained.

Offenders’ health and well-being is maintained.

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

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

We will use the mental health screening tool to understand and respond to the mental health needs of our prisoners. We will encourage a positive mind-set through motivational programmes, and we will implement a Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

We will incorporate Tikanga Maori into the way we deliver services. Our staff will be highly responsive to Maori offenders’ needs. We will work to build cultural strength, and encourage connectivity with the Maori community.

By 2016, we will demonstrate our success through:

  • fewer incidents of unnatural deaths of prisoners each year, when compared to the previous year
  • fewer incidents of self-harm threat to life by prisoners each year, when compared to the previous year
  • fewer justified complaints by prisoners to the Corrections’ Inspectorate (general and about health services) each year, when compared to the previous year.