Re-offending is Reduced

Offenders' capability to lead law abiding lives is improved

Individual offender rehabilitation needs are identified and met


Corrections assesses the effectiveness of its rehabilitation programmes by measuring their impact through the Rehabilitation Quotient (RQ). The RQ shows the extent to which re-offending is reduced by comparing rates of reconviction and reimprisonment amongst offenders who completed a rehabilitative intervention, with the rates observed amongst similar offenders (matched to a range of risk-related factors) who had no involvement in the programmes.

We understand what drives variability and use this knowledge to improve our effectiveness. We have built a suite of programmes and interventions that range from ‘light-touch’ brief motivational interventions that can be delivered in large volumes to offenders, through to 12 month residential treatment in therapeutic communities known as Special Treatment Units, reserved for offenders with the highest risks and needs.

As well as ensuring compliance with sentences and orders and the safe and secure containment of prisoners, we will continue to reduce re-offending rates by providing the timely assessment of rehabilitative and reintegration needs of offenders.

The 2012 Reducing Re-offending programme set delivery targets of new and expanded rehabilitation interventions for 7,855 additional prisoners and community-based offenders by 2017. In 2013/14, 7,439 prisoners and 6,596 community-based offenders started a rehabilitation programme. As a result of an expansion of programmes, by 2017 an additional 120 prisoners per year will be treated in one of the department’s six Special Treatment Units (STU) for high-risk offenders.

STU programmes are high intensity, psychological interventions that focus on the specific recidivism risk factors associated with offending such as sexual offending against children or violent offending. An increase in these high intensity programmes compliments the increase in low intensity programmes for lower-level offending introduced as part of the refreshed approach to reducing re-offending by 25% by 2017.

A key enabler to improving rehabilitation will be embedding an end-to-end case management approach. Offenders will move through planned phases of assessment, education, treatment, maintenance and skills development. Alongside this, interventions will be delivered as determined by case managers and probation staff.

Working prisons

A working prison engages prisoners in treatment, learning and industry to prepare them for integrating into society and finding employment on release. All our public prisons will be converted to working prisons by 30 June 2017. The intention is for people to be engaged for 40 hours per week wherever possible. All prisoners are eligible and the number of hours they participate per week depends on the individual.

The readiness of a prison to make the transition to a working prison is dependent on security and infrastructure, capability to provide programmes and location to employment opportunities. We have been increasing the capability and security of our sites as part of a wider modernisation programme to enhance New Zealand prisons and to uphold safety.

Corrections’ transformational business programme will fundamentally change the way we do business in our custodial environment. The overall purpose of the programme is to configure our prison network, leadership and front line workforce to better meet the operational demands and challenges of the future and to meet our reducing re-offending target.

Each site offers different activities and support that is tailored for the type of prisoners held and employment opportunities available. As more sites become working prisons, they will work together as a network to co-ordinate the best placement for a prisoner based on their specific needs and offender pathway.

Self-directed, vocational learning and Release to Work programmes are offered across all prison sites. Practical training and programmes vary between sites based on location and available resources, for example the construction yard at Rolleston Prison.

Ultimately, our prisons will be more effective if they operate as part of a network with individual sites working to their strengths without duplicating resources. Corrections will create a prison system where offenders are placed in prisons depending on their employment, education and rehabilitative needs at any given time, as well as their sentence and risk level. The network will include centres of excellence for specific groups, such as young offenders.

Upgrades to community corrections sites

The department is in the second year of a programme to upgrade 70% of its Community Corrections sites by improving the safety and amenity of facilities so staff can best support offenders to be rehabilitated, develop effective life skills, get a stable job and not re-offend. The upgraded sites will provide improved rehabilitation and learning venues and safer meeting areas for probation staff to work directly with offenders. Sites that are safe as well as functional provide enhanced opportunities for offenders to interact with staff and comply with their sentences and orders. Given the geographical spread of the offender population, accessible Community Corrections sites that meet offender needs will maximise the potential to reduce re-offending.

The National Property Strategy also provides for the consolidation of sites, reducing the overall facility footprint and (where appropriate) joining with other justice and social sector agencies.

Enable greater offender participation

Corrections will develop and implement a system of Custodial Management Assessment (CMA). This is part of the suite of a newly revised Prisoner Placement System which is the key process for determining a prisoner’s unit allocation within the prison and the level of supervision required for the safe and secure management of that prisoner outside the unit. The system consists of two distinctive parts:

  • Prisoner Placement Tool: an assessment, with a focus on offender history, to determine whether a prisoner is suitable to reside in low, high or maximum security accommodation. The prisoner placement tool assesses the risk posed by a prisoner while inside or outside prison, including the risk of escape and the risk that escape would pose to the public.
  • Custodial Management Assessment: an assessment, with a focus on offender history and other dynamic factors, to determine the necessary level of restraint and supervision required for the safe management of a prisoner in their interaction with other prisoners, staff and/or the community either in, or outside the prison.

Specific funding for quality programmes

In 2014 Corrections signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tertiary Education Commission. This procurement approach will lead to more prisoners being supported with their literacy needs while gaining industry relevant skills and qualifications.

The Memorandum sets out funding that will be made available for prison-based education and training in 2015/2016. The funding is intended for the provision of industry relevant levels 1 and 2 NZQF qualifications. All 1 and 2 level NZQA qualifications have embedded literacy.

How progress will be monitored

Strategic Intentions 2015-19 KPIs

2015/16 Target

The proportion of prisoners with an identified need who have a programme placement

Target to be set in 2015/16

The proportion of prisoners who demonstrate statistically significant gains through intensive literacy and numeracy provision


The total number of qualifications achieved by prisoners while in prison


There is a reduction in rates of re-offending

25% by 2017

Offenders' ability to integrate into the community is improved

Reintegration initiatives ensure sustainability of rehabilitation interventions

Community support will see offenders and their families receiving the support they need to help them reintegrate in society and remain crime free.

We know from our recidivism data that the risk of re-offending is most pronounced during the period immediately following release; a fifth of reimprisonments happen in the first three months after release and half happen within 12 months.

The department currently invests over $13 million in reintegration services. These services offer assistance to offenders aimed at reducing re-offending.

Partnerships and collaboration

All prisoners are eventually released and return to the community, requiring reintegration support. Churches, iwi groups and volunteer bodies offer scope to foster more community support for ex-offenders. Private sector employers can benefit from the skills ex-offenders have gained in prisons. This means building on the success of events like Prison Gate to Plate, one of a range of events transforming the way people see Corrections and the potential to employ offenders. In many cases, government agencies are improving outcomes for the same high needs groups, including reintegrating prisoners and their families. Combining efforts offers mutual benefits, such as our partnership with Housing New Zealand for prisoners at Rolleston Prison who are building houses for the Christchurch re-build.

Reviewing prison industries

Corrections is assessing its prison industries and prisoners’ placement within them, and evolving our sites to ensure the approach to prison industries is in line with local employment needs. This assessment will also allow us to profile individual prisons and identify its core function as it relates to the opportunities that local industry and other opportunities provide, ie should the prison’s focus be on rehabilitation and education, or training and employment. The outcome of the assessment will be to ensure that prison industries represent the most cost effective way of giving prisoners employment experience while decreasing our need to compete in the marketplace and optimising the opportunities for offender employment and training.

In some areas, there are opportunities to reduce our capital asset base and our exposure to commodity fluctuations. For example, our large scale farming and timber operations at Tongariro/Rangipö will be significantly reduced in size and re-purposed to become a fully-fenced training farm, which will increase training opportunities for prisoners and reduce financial risk.

Out of Gate

Out of Gate is an outcomes-based navigation service that improves reintegration into the community by helping offenders access or establish suitable accommodation, budgeting advice, employment advice and support to address their needs. There have been over 4,000 referrals to date and this service will assist 2,150 offenders under this initiative each year.

Out of Gate is aimed at prisoners being released from a sentence of two years or less. These offenders make up the majority of those to be released and often have the most acute needs.

We intend to increase investment to continue the reintegrative Out of Gate service.

Supported accommodation

Corrections currently contracts a number of service providers, such as the Salvation Army, to provide transitional accommodation for up to 90 days for prisoners released from a sentence of two years or longer (long serving prisoners). This service provides a 90 day window for released prisoners to receive further navigational services in order to secure suitable longer term accommodation options. These services are concentrated in the six metropolitan centres of Auckland, Hamilton, Napier, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

We aim to continue to grow our capacity in supported accommodation service provision, and are working with providers to improve both supply of service and suitable accommodation stock in other areas of the country.

For released prisoners with a high-risk of re-offending, we contract services to provide intensive residential programmes for a small number of offenders. These offenders are monitored in accordance with the monitoring conditions on their post-release orders and the accommodation service can last up to two years.

Current demands on supported accommodation are challenging for the department. The department currently supports up to 214 released offenders through its existing supported accommodation network and proposes to increase that to 284 next financial year, which will go some way towards resolving these pressures.

Real jobs on release

Corrections aims to equip both prisoners and community offenders with the skills, support and resilience they require to be successful in the labour market. There are a number of initiatives that the department has introduced to achieve this goal. This includes transforming our prisons into working prisons, contracting external providers to deliver employment support, developing employer partnership agreements and upskilling and utilising our frontline staff so they can deliver employment assistance or refer offenders to specialist providers.

In 2014 Corrections contracted employment support providers to deliver individualised assistance to prisoners and offenders to support them to find and maintain paid employment. The service is targeted at eligible prisoners and community offenders who have been identified as most likely to succeed in finding and retaining a job, but require a high level of support to do so.

We have signed partnership agreements with employers who are interested in committing to hiring prisoners upon release on an ongoing basis. We will continue to grow the number of employer partnerships we have in the future.

Results based contracts

As part of the government’s drive to deliver better public services, a consistent approach to government agencies contracting NGOs to deliver social services is being developed.

The overall aim is to reduce the compliance cost burden on NGOs, so greater effort and funding is directed to delivering front line services to the New Zealanders that need them.

The three year project entitled “Streamlined Contracting with NGOs” will equip government agencies and NGOs with skills and tools that will make working together more efficient and coordinated.

The new contracting framework increases the focus on outcomes. It makes sure agencies and NGOs are doing and measuring the things that make a difference, not just counting activity.

The results based contract terms and conditions are more balanced and fairer for NGOs than any other agreements that government agencies enter into with NGO providers.

How progress will be monitored

Strategic Intentions 2015-19 KPIs

2015/16 Target

The number of offenders that are referred to a reintegration intervention


All public prisons to be transitioned to the working prisons framework and achieving 100% prisoner engagement by 30 June 2017

16 by 2017

The total number of offenders that are referred to employment support services

Target to be set in 2015/16

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