Our Strategic Direction

Our Strategic Direction

Government goal

This Government has made a commitment to create a more effective criminal justice system and safer New Zealand. Achieving these long-term objectives will require systemic reform consistent with New Zealand values and aspirations, across the whole of the criminal justice system and the social sector. This will involve public engagement, partnerships with iwi/Māori and other community groups, legislative reform, investment in new services and operational change – amongst other things.

The Government has set a specific target to reduce the prison population by 30 percent over the next 15 years. Corrections is already progressing this target with the establishment of the High Impact Innovation Programme. Since its commencement (as the Targeted Option to Reduce the Prison Population programme), we have achieved a reduction in the growth of the prison population of 153 beds*. We expect to make additional progress towards the Government’s goal of reducing the prison population through broader reforms of the wider criminal justice system.

Corrections will be at the forefront of criminal justice system reform. We will engage with agencies within the justice and social sectors to achieve the Government’s goals and create a safer New Zealand. This work has been referenced throughout this document, with further detailed information to be released publicly as it becomes available.

*as at 5 June 2018

Corrections' priorities

Corrections will support the Government’s goal through the outcomes and priorities that we work to achieve. Corrections has two outcomes: Public Safety is Improved and Re-offending is Reduced.

The four priorities that contribute to these outcomes are:

  • Safety
  • Our People
  • Rehabilitation
  • Transitions

Our Priorities 2018-2019

Corrections recently launched ‘Our Priorities 2018-2019’. This has been developed as a tool for staff and provides guidance for all staff on the strategic direction of Corrections and how we will work together in the short-term to achieve our medium to long-term goals.

Our Priorities 2018-2019 transforms our highest level outcomes and the priorities above (which have a four year implementation focus) into simpler, short term actions. These operationalise our priorities, streamline the organisation’s lineof-sight and improve the understanding frontline staff have of how our actions contribute to our broader mission.

Our Priorities for 2018 to 2019 have been published and can be found under Our Priorities.

Priority: Safety

Corrections has a uniquely wide range of safety risks. Not only do we manage some of the most dangerous people in New Zealand, but many of our offenders are highly vulnerable. We are also involved in a wide array of prison industries, ranging from dairy farming to construction. Our approach to safety must appropriately balance the needs of the people under our management with the safety and security of the public and our custodial environments.
Budget 2018 provides $198.4 million to accommodate 600 additional prisoner places in rapid-build modular units in prisons by the end of 2019 and $127.9 million for initiatives to manage community-based offenders and defendants. New funding for community-based services includes $82.7 million for probation and community services, $8.6 million to increase the number of defendants on electronically monitored bail to 1,000, and $6.7 million to maintain and expand residential alcohol treatment services.

What will we achieve?

Our prisons will be world leading facilities in safety practice. New Zealanders will be confident that prisoners are safe in our custody, are held to account for their crimes, and that our facilities are secure and humane.

Through our work, we will directly contribute to improved safety in communities throughout New Zealand. New Zealanders will be confident that Corrections will protect their safety and appropriately monitor offenders.

Increasing the capacity of our prisons and reducing the prison population

The growing prison population and the pressure this is placing on prison capacity is Corrections’ foremost risk. Without immediate action, there is a risk that the increasing pressure on capacity in prisons will negatively impact their safety.
Therefore, to safeguard the good order and safety of our sites, and the safety and wellbeing of our staff, we must bring more prison beds into service and work alongside our justice sector partners to progress the government’s priority of
reducing the prison population.

Corrections will:

  • complete the construction of our new 500 bed high security facility and 100 bed mental health facility at Waikeria
  • complete the construction of our new unit at Mt Eden Corrections Facility and continue to bring more beds online in the short to medium-term within existing prison sites
  • improve operational efficiency in the criminal justice pipeline to support a reduction in demand for remand beds in prison
  • investigate and contribute to long-term policy solutions to reduce the prison population.

Enabling increased use of non-custodial options

Currently, legislation is operating in a way that results in high-risk people being detained for the longest period of time possible, minimising the use of parole. In reality, parole provides Corrections with the opportunity to help offenders learn to live in the community self-sufficiently, without returning to harmful behaviours.

When high-risk offenders remain in prison until the end of their sentence, we risk returning them to the community and having no legal ability to monitor or support their transition.

Corrections will:

  • place a greater emphasis on moving offenders through their rehabilitation pathways faster, to enable parole sooner
  • contribute to policy considerations that may enable the increased use of parole as a reintegration tool.

Improving the timeliness and quality of information we provide to the Judiciary and New Zealand Parole Board

Corrections provides information to the New Zealand Parole Board and sentencing courts that informs their decision-making processes. By enhancing the timeliness and quality of our advice, we can directly improve the quality of parole and sentencing decisions. This will ensure that the people who need to be in prison remain in prison and, where appropriate, offenders can serve their sentences and orders in the community.

Corrections will:

  • improve the timeliness and quality of advice provided to the New Zealand Parole Board and courts, through monitoring, performance assessment, and training.

Ensuring the corrections system is accountable and transparent

Transparency is a vital aspect of being accountable to the New Zealand public. Through a renewed focus on transparency, we will give all New Zealanders confidence that our facilities are safe, secure and humane.

Corrections will:

  • promote the operational independence of the Office of the Inspectorate, and ensure that they are sufficiently resourced.

High Impact Innovation Team

This is a cross-agency operational response to the rising demand on prison capacity. It will directly contribute to the Government’s goals of reducing he prison population by 30 percent over 15 years, and addressing the over representation of Māori in the criminal justice system.

The team will identify, develop and implement operational initiatives that will directly impact the flows into and out of prison. They will target the operational constraints that delay bail applications and invest in support to ensure bail is successful, safe and sustainable, and improve the support provided to offenders being considered for parole.

How will we know we are successful?

By focusing on the areas above, we should see improved safety outcomes among staff and offenders, and in our communities. There should be a reduction in the rate of serious prisoner-on-prisoner and prisoner-on-
staff assaults, and prisoner drug tests returned with a positive result. As has been the case since 2014/15, there should be no breakout escapes from our facilities.In the community, there will be an increase in the proportion of offenders held to account for non-compliance, and a decrease in the proportion of offenders who re-offend while serving a community-based sentence or order.

The Tokorima a Māui Well Functioning Service framework

The Well Functioning Service framework is the framework against which we will assess how well placed our services are to contribute to our goals. The framework will be used in custodial and community-based environments and is based on five kaupapa Māori values:

  • Kaitiaki (guardianship) – We are responsive and responsible
  • Manaaki (respect) – We care for and respect everyone
  • Rangatira (leadership) – We demonstrate leadership and are accountable
  • Wairua (spirituality) – We are unified and focused in our efforts
  • Whānau (relationships) – We develop supportive relationships

Priority: Our People

At Corrections, over 9,000 staff go to work every day – in prisons and out in the community – to keep our communities safe and to support offenders to change their lives. Our staff work in an exceptionally challenging environment, and we have an obligation to ensure they are safe, well supported, and have opportunities to grow and succeed.

What will we achieve?

We will safeguard the safety and wellbeing of our staff. We will nurture a culture in which the health, safety and wellbeing of our people are prioritised and that empowers everybody to do the right thing.

Prioritising the health, safety and wellbeing of our people

To support staff to keep themselves and those around them safe, we must ensure access to modern fit-for-purpose training, guidance and equipment. We must also understand the effects of fatigue and stress, especially considering the challenging environment in which many of our staff work.

Corrections will:

  • complete the nationwide roll-out of individual pepper spray canisters
  • expand Corrections’ Site Emergency Response Teams
  • complete the construction of the new Tactical Training Facility, enabling specialist forms of training such as ‘working at heights’ and ‘method of entry’
  • deliver greater flexibility in staff rostering, addressing issues such as fatigue and stress.

Growing our capabilities

At its core, growing Corrections’ capabilities begins with on-the-job learning experiences. These experiences help our people make an even greater contribution to public safety and provide the support offenders need to turn their lives around.

Corrections will:

  • work alongside our custodial and community-based sites to review and enhance training opportunities
  • progress Aukaha te Waka – the Future of Probation, our five year work programme to improve the long term capability of community probation services.

Aukaha te Waka – the Future of Probation

The Future of Probation is a five year work programme, which commenced  in 2017 and aims to improve the long term capability of community probation services.

While the programme is wide-ranging, it includes a specific focus on improving how we care for Māori offenders. This will include improving staff knowledge of Te Reo, tikanga practices, and the Te Ao Māori point of view.

Encouraging inspirational leadership

In the challenging Corrections environment, our leaders must be able to effectively direct their team, inspire them, and inform their understanding of our long-term goals. Leadership at Corrections should encompass courage, integrity and an ability to communicate openly.

Corrections will:

  • introduce new tools for leaders, including a new model for what inspirational leadership looks like and a tool through which leaders can obtain feedback and grow
  • ensure decisions made at an executive level are consulted appropriately throughout all levels of staff, and that staff are invested in our long term goals.

How will we know we are successful?

By focusing on the areas above, we should see improved safety and wellbeing outcomes for staff leading directly to a reduction in voluntary turnover and a reduction in the number of ‘unrosterable’ staff members.

Ultimately, improved staff engagement will impact the performance of all Corrections’ functions.

Making Shifts Work

This project is investigating alternatives to an eight hour shift in prisons. It aims to keep staff safe, allow improved work-life balance for staff, continue the delivery  of effective operations in our facilities, and enable increased unlock hours for prisoners to improve engagement in meaningful activity.

Priority: Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation programmes represent the best opportunity Corrections has to directly impact the drivers of crime among prisoners and community-based offenders. By improving rehabilitative gains, we can directly reduce re-offending and reduce the number of people re-entering the corrections system.

What will we achieve?

We will provide prisoners and community-based offenders with access to best practice rehabilitation programmes that address the drivers of crime and criminal behaviour and improve individual wellbeing and public safety.

Delivering rehabilitation that meets the specific needs of Māori offenders

As described earlier, Māori offenders are the majority of people in the corrections system. As such, meeting our departmental outcome of improving public safety is inextricably linked to our success with Māori. All our rehabilitation programmes should meet the needs of Māori.

In addition, we know that around 70 percent of gang members in prison identify  as Māori. As gang members re-offend at nearly twice the rate of other offenders, improving outcomes for Māori must involve addressing New Zealand’s high rate of gang membership.

Corrections will:

  • design rehabilitation programmes based on kaupapa Māori values
  • continue contracting Māori service providers to provide programmes for Māori that are delivered by Māori
  • address gang membership as a core driver of offending through a focus on specialist rehabilitation programmes and purposeful engagement with high-risk offenders.

Corrections’ Gang Strategy 2017-2021

Corrections’ Gang Strategy 2017-2021 is our five year plan to address gang membership in prisons and in our communities.

The strategy aims to create safer prisons and communities – free from gang intimidation, violence and anti-social behaviour. Building on last year’s progress, the strategy will focus on three key pillars: containment and disruption, rehabilitation and reintegration, and harm reduction.

Upcoming outputs for the strategy include a Gang Engagement Framework, a prisoner placement model for gang members (and those vulnerable to gangs), and a training package for staff to improve engagement with gang members.

Delivering education as a form of rehabilitation

The low rate of literacy and numeracy among offenders, particularly Māori offenders, creates barriers to rehabilitation opportunities in prison, and to employment and education opportunities in the community.

Corrections will:

  • improve the accessibility of education in prisons.

Addressing mental health and addiction disorders as core drivers of crime

Over 90 percent of prisoners have a lifetime diagnosis of mental health or substance abuse disorders. We cannot, therefore, address the risk of violence and self-harm incidents in prisons, without first addressing the mental health needs of our most vulnerable prisoners.

Further, the mental health needs of offenders in the community are different to the needs of prisoners. Community-based sentences and orders range from community work for the least serious offending to intensive supervision and extended supervision orders for the highest risk offenders.

Corrections will:

  • transform our At-Risk Units into Intervention and Support Units, enhancing the provision of specialist mental health services
  • design and operate our custodial facilities to better support prisoners’ mental health needs
  • expand and enhance the range of rehabilitation programmes we have available to prisoners, and assess their effectiveness regularly
  • increase the use of alcohol interlocks and alcohol detection anklets as tools to monitor compliance by community-based offenders and as a complement to personal gains achieved through Corrections’ rehabilitation programmes.

How will we know we are successful?

There will be an increase in the number of prisoners participating in industry, treatment and learning opportunities and a reduction in re-offending. The proportion of prisoners who start and complete a rehabilitation programme will increase, as will the proportion of prisoners who have received intensive literacy and numeracy qualifications in prison.

Priority: Transitions

Supporting offenders in the community is vital to ensuring rehabilitative gains achieved in prison are retained. We know that offenders who lack access to suitable housing and are unable to support themselves are more likely to re-offend, be re-convicted, and be re-imprisoned. Accordingly, we cannot ensure safety in the community without addressing these specific needs among offenders.

What will we achieve?

We will provide comprehensive, wrap-around support to offenders, improving access to stable accommodation and employment, and reducing the likelihood they will offend again in the future.

Partnering with Māori in the delivery of services

We have an opportunity to improve outcomes among Māori by designing services that address their needs, and the fact that Māori offenders do not retain rehabilitative gains as strongly as non-Māori offenders upon release from prison.

Corrections will:

  • continue working closely with the Kīngitanga to progress our joint objectives as agreed in our kawenata (accord)
  • partner with whakapapa and kaupapa-based organisations to support Māori offenders in the community
  • incorporate specific cultural needs and the Te Ao Māori view to design and deliver bespoke support services.

Improving access to stable and suitable housing

Corrections, Housing New Zealand, MSD, and iwi entities support offenders into suitable and stable accommodation. This reduces the likelihood of re-offending by providing a stabilising factor in offenders’ lives, and improving education, health and financial outcomes for offenders. As described earlier, the current housing context is challenging, making it more difficult for Corrections to find accommodation places for offenders.

Corrections will:

  • co-operate with social sector agencies, expanding the emergency and transitional accommodation we have available for offenders and improve the services we provide to high-risk community-based offenders.

Improving opportunities for employment

By improving employment prospects for offenders, we can help them realise a life in which they can support themselves, gain access to suitable housing, and contribute to society in a meaningful way.

Corrections will:

  • support offenders into employment by expanding Corrections’ provision of employment related assistance
  • continue providing end-to-end employment services to suitable offenders.

How will we know we are successful?

By focusing on the areas above, we should see a reduction in the proportion of offenders re-offending within two years of the end of their sentence. We should also see an increase in the number of community-based offenders who successfully complete their sentence, an increase in the number of transitional accommodation places, and a decrease in the number of community-based offenders who offend while serving their sentence or order.

Supporting Offenders into Employment

A trial is taking place over the next three years jointly run by Corrections and the Ministry of Social Development. It is testing new ways of supporting offenders when they leave prison and aims to improve employment outcomes and reduce re-offending among newly-released prisoners.

The trial has two main focus areas: preparing offenders for work prior to, and upon, their release from prison, and the Intensive Client Support – Supporting Offenders into Employment (ICS-SOE) service.

The ICS-SOE service is an intensive case management service offered by Work and Income, which involves engaging with prisoners prior to their release, and up to a year afterwards.