Department of Corrections (New Zealand)

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The New Zealand Department of Corrections

The New Zealand Department of Corrections ( was established on 1 October 1995, following government decisions on the recommendations of the Review of the New Zealand Department of Justice in 1994. It is part of the national public service of New Zealand.

The Department's chief executive is Mark G Byers.

The Department's core business is the management of custodial sentences (imprisonment and home detention) and non-custodial sentences and orders (eg supervision, community work and parole) imposed by the courts. Corrections also provides information to the judiciary (such as pre-sentence reports about offenders) to inform decision making, and provides support services to the New Zealand Parole Board.

Corrections operates 17 public prisons, 12 Community Probation Service area offices (with staff at 144 locations nationwide), eight Psychological Service offices, and the Department's head office, which is located in Wellington. There are also prison-based units with special areas of rehabilitation treatment or focus - three drug and alcohol units, two sex offender treatment units, a violence prevention unit, five Maori focus units and four youth units.

The Department comprises a number of services and groups, as follows.

The Public Prisons Service is responsible for the safe, secure and humane containment of sentenced and remand inmates. Remand inmates are those who have been charged with an offence and are being held in custody pending plea, trial or sentencing, while sentenced inmates are those incarcerated following conviction. The service is also responsible for managing the sentence needs of each offender, including rehabilitation and reintegration.

Probation and Offender Services comprises the service delivery arms of the Department, responsible for the Community Probation Service, Psychological Service and Intervention Services. The latter is a new service group that started operating in July 2004.

The Community Probation Service (CPS) manages approximately 38,000 community-based sentences and orders per annum, and provides information and reports to judges to assist them in making sentencing and release decisions. CPS also provides responsivity and rehabilitative programmes to help address the needs that contribute to offending.

The Psychological Service provides specialist clinical assessment and treatment services to offenders. It also develops and delivers rehabilitative programmes for three special treatment units: two for male sex offenders who have offended against children, and one for violent offenders.

In addition, the service undertakes psychological research which helps to improve risk assessment, targeting and treatment effectiveness for both the Psychological Service and the Department. It also develops specialist assessment tools that are now used throughout the organisation in sentence management and by the New Zealand Parole Board.

The Policy Development group provides policy advice, strategic and trend analysis, develops correctional policy, contributes to legislative reviews and coordinates policy with other government agencies. The group incorporates a Strategic Analysis Unit (trend and forecast analysis, research evaluation), Maori and Pacific Policy Unit (improved outcomes for Maori and Pacific peoples), Treaty Relationships Unit (building and maintaining strong and effective relationships with Maori), Strategic and Legislative Policy Unit (legislative development) and Operational Policy Unit (ongoing development of key operational business processes).

The Corporate Management group is responsible for the purchase of corrections services from both internal and external providers. It develops and provides national systems, service specifications and purchase advice. It also monitors the delivery of services and assesses quality standards.

The group incorporates Information Technology, which is responsible for the development and maintenance of the Department's information technology strategy and systems. The Planning Unit, which develops the Department's external accountability documentation, is also part of the group.

Corporate Management also provides administrative support and training services for the New Zealand Parole Board.

Strategic Services group provides specialist advice and services to help run the Department. This includes Human Resources, which is responsible for the development of the Department-wide human resource strategy, and the Communications Unit, which is responsible for communications projects, publications and media management.

The Internal Audit section of the group provides assurances on key statutory accountabilities and the operation of the Department's risk management framework. Its services include: operational audits, security and custodial audits, financial audits, IT audits, special investigations, quality assurance and advisory reports. It also supports groups and services to implement risk management practices and robust self-review mechanisms.

The Department's Prison Inspectorate reports directly to the Chief Executive on matters which affect the fair, safe, secure and humane treatment of offenders and the maintenance of the integrity of sentences imposed by the courts.

The Finance group provides a range of financial and property advice and support services to the Department. The group incorporates Corrections Inmate Employment, which manages inmate employment in prisons. The group also includes the project team charged with the design and construction of four new regional prisons.


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