From our Chief Executive

This month in Corrections Works we look at a new alcohol and drug testing trial underway for offenders in the community. This is the first time we have had the legislation and equipment in place to test offenders with abstinence conditions for drug and alcohol use. Alcohol detection anklets and testing are being trialled across the Northern Region. It’s not just about holding offenders who use alcohol and drugs to account, it also means we can refer people to get the help they need to address their substance abuse.

Seven of our corrections officers recently returned from working on one of the remotest islands in the Pacific. The officers were based on Pitcairn Island to provide custodial supervision of an offender at the request of the British Government. This is the second time we’ve been asked to provide services to Pitcairn, the last time was back in 2006-2009 when we had over 50 staff on the island monitoring six offenders.

Our coveted 2017 Rimutaka Prison Gate to Plate event was more popular than ever; we even had a ballot for tickets this time around. Those who didn’t manage to get tickets had another chance to get a taste of what our prisoner chefs are capable of this year. Our catering instructors took charge of a caravan set up in Midland Park in Wellington selling prisoner-made meals to the bustling lunch crowd. When I went to visit the team an eager queue was stretching around the corner, with people lining up to buy a lunch prepared by prisoners. Not only were diners full of praise for the food, they were keen to hear more about the work we do. We even had corrections officers and our recruitment team out encouraging people to consider working with us.

Thanks to our memorandum of understanding with the Department of Conservation (DoC), our community work crews have been doing their bit to save native kiwi, kokako, bats and other species in the Otanewainuku Forest. Offenders have been building predator traps that humanely kill unwanted pests in the forest. We have similar projects operating at over 65 sites nationwide as part of our Good to Grow partnership with DoC, it’s a great way for offenders to give back to local communities.

It was terrific to be on stage at the New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards to receive Corrections’ award for best board level engagement. This has been an area of focus for me over the last three years, so it was good to have our robust health and safety practices recognised.

Regards

Ray Smith