Corrections was formed in 1995 on the principles of rehabilitation and public safety – which remain at the core of what we do.
The formation of Corrections has developed alongside beliefs and trends that have influenced crime and punishment in New Zealand since early colonial times. Read about the history of prisons and corrections services in New Zealand on Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand or visit our Heritage Centre to find out more.
Today we employ 8,000 people located in over 151 sites and 18 prisons across the country.
At any given time, 9,000 individuals are in prison, and 30,000 offenders are serving a community-based sentence or order. Our goal is to reduce re-offending by 25% by 2017. Doing this will mean 600 fewer re-imprisonments, 4,000 fewer people being reconvicted on community offences and 18,500 fewer victims.
We work to address the reasons people turn to crime, such as a lack of education, a history of violence and abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, joblessness and homelessness. In New Zealand 40% of offenders are Maori, so working with Maori to help offenders lead a crime-free life is a strong focus.
The majority of people in prison are serving short sentences of less than two years. The fact is most prisoners will return to the community at some stage, so it’s essential for us to ease their transition back into society and support people so they do not return to crime.
Corrections provides a number of treatment programmes and specialist care units to help people turn their lives around. We also partner with community groups, iwi and organisations that have expertise in the areas we know make the biggest difference.
Working with people to ensure they receive the help they need to stop offending reduces the risk they pose to the public and makes our communities safer places to be.
Education and employment
We know that people with education and training, who are in work, are less likely to offend. However for many offenders, having a criminal history and a limited education makes it hard to find a job.
90% of prisoners have difficulty reading and writing – so we provide essential literacy and numeracy skills training in prison.
We increase offenders’ opportunities for employment by teaching them relevant skills that are in demand, for example, in Christchurch prisoners are learning trade skills essential to rebuilding the city. Offenders serving community sentences participate in education, basic work and living skills and job skills training.
Corrections partners with major employers and industries to help prisoners into employment once they leave prison.
All New Zealand's prisons are moving to become working prisons, where prisoners will take part in some form of work, education or rehabilitation programme.