Strategic Choices, Opportunities and Challenges

Strategic choices

Corrections’ commitment to live within its 2011 forecast baseline levels until 2020 requires us to effectively manage resources to ensure funding is available to invest in improving public safety and reducing re-offending. We will drive this through prudent investment choices and continuous improvement in delivering value through our programmes, interventions, and practice.

Maintaining safe and secure prisons, managing and monitoring offenders in the community and continuing to improve staff safety will remain our core business.

Effectively managing resources

The department manages over $2.5 billion of assets, providing facilities, technology, and equipment that support our operations that run the length of the country. Many of these facilities operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The estate includes 18 prisons, two of which are privately operated by Serco, and a remand centre in New Plymouth. The department works from 167 community sites across the country, which are either leased or owned, and this includes the use of court sites. We also provide facilities for offender employment activities and rehabilitative programmes.

Our facilities must be safe and fit-for purpose, secure, well maintained and must foster purposeful opportunities for rehabilitation and offender employment.

Our large asset base provides limited flexibility in the short term to reduce asset management costs given the purpose built nature of prisons and their geographical spread. The department will ensure that its capital assets are utilised effectively.

We will succeed in providing better public value through our capital and asset management programme by:

  • improving our facilities to engage prisoners in work or training
  • modernising Community Corrections sites, creating hubs that encourage more efficient interactions between staff, offenders, and service providers in the community
  • co-locating work premises with our Justice Sector partners, including the Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct (CJESP) where Corrections and NZ Police will share a custodial suite designed for initial offender inductions and court servicing
  • implementing efficiency and effectiveness reviews and strategies to mitigate future cost pressures and contribute to living within our 2011 funding baseline until 2020
  • incorporating centralised services and outcomes based contracting to ensure resources are used efficiently in the work we do with offenders.

Strategic opportunities

Lifting productivity and performance in New Zealand prisons

To fully realise a 25% reduction in re-offending by 2017 we will put further focus on improving outcomes for offenders while in prison.

We have invested significantly in our prisons over the last four years, making them more secure, safer places for staff, prisoners and visitors and providing an environment that encourages rehabilitation and learning.

Changes to the staffing structure of prisons and decommissioning assets that have reached the end of their economic life will be implemented throughout 2015; lifting productivity and performance in prisons. This will be delivered by unifying key operational delivery functions under a single management structure and preventing expenditure on the remedial costs of updating and maintaining end of life facilities.

The opening of the 960 bed men’s prison at Auckland South Corrections Facility provides an opportunity to maintain capacity to meet the prison population demand, while reducing our asset costs elsewhere in the estate.

The unified structure for each prison will enable us to lift productivity and performance in New Zealand’s prisons by:

  • providing a structure and clarity of purpose to our prison operations that will enable us to meet our reducing re-offending goal of 25% by 2017, particularly with offenders in prison
  • streamlining the process of rehabilitation, employment, and treatment in prisons
  • addressing facilities that are no longer fit for purpose.

One of the projected outcomes of the changes in staffing structures in prisons will be to strengthen practice leadership nationally.

The unified structure for each prison will see all custodial, educational, employment, reintegration, treatment, health, and rehabilitation services under the leadership of a prison director. Prison directors will have full access to the resources needed to build further leadership and capability support to enable the roll out of working prisons and create lasting change in the lives of offenders.

Ongoing challenges

Corrections can make an enduring contribution in maintaining the integrity and improving the performance of the Justice Sector3. There will always be a requirement to maintain a high level of sentence compliance, and to do that in a way that meets society’s expectations for the treatment of victims and offenders, as well as consistent improvements in terms of value for money.

Achieving the current re-offending reduction target is likely to require even more emphasis on reducing the harm that re-offending causes.

A continuing focus on harm reduction would see a sharper focus given to the most harmful type of offending and to reducing the seriousness of offending in those cases where re-offending does occur.

All of these factors suggest that Corrections will need to be able to:

  • continue to innovate and evaluate new approaches, and increase interventions that are shown to be the most effective
  • produce better individual-level data and analytics that can predict likely outcomes for specific offenders. This will require more effective partnerships with both public and private sector organisations, which target and prioritise offenders with the highest likelihood of causing harm over their remaining lifetimes
  • further expand the use of Electronic Monitoring technologies, for example GPS tracking and containment and geo-spatial information, to enable safer community-based sentences and more efficient operation
  • show greater effectiveness in converting reduced crime and re-offending rates to lower prison musters and cost savings, in order to meet future pressures and invest in scaling more effective interventions.

3 Performance Improvement Framework – Follow-up Review of the Department of Corrections April 2014

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