The greatest contribution the Department of Corrections can make to New Zealanders is to reduce re-offending. Breaking the cycle of crime results in fewer victims and safer communities. The Government is committed to achieving a 25% reduction in re-offending by 2017. This will mean 4,600 fewer offenders returning and 18,500 fewer victims.
To achieve this, we will work with our partners in the community and across the justice, public, and private sectors to move people away from a life of crime. Through a combination of interventions such as increased alcohol and drug treatment, greater access to education, skills training, employment programmes, expanded reintegration services, and innovative rehabilitation programmes, we can make a difference to people’s lives.
Our plan to reduce re-offending involves developing new and innovative approaches, while expanding and strengthening existing services with proven results. This plan will evolve during the next few years to ensure that we are responsive to offenders’ changing needs.
New rehabilitation interventions for 41,100 community-based offenders a year provided directly by probation staff.
Our community probation staff play a key role in reducing re-offending. Working on the frontline, probation staff have the ability to make important decisions that can make a real difference to people’s lives.
Research in Canada has shown that a 15% reduction in re-convictions can be achieved by probation officers using risk, need, and responsivity principles in their daily interactions with offenders.
Our frontline probation staff are now being trained to deliver brief relapse prevention and motivational interventions to offenders.
Relapse prevention focuses on maintaining the gains an offender has already made towards not re-offending, and applying motivational techniques that will encourage an offender to enter or stay in a programme.
Offenders will also be encouraged to take part in, and complete education, basic work and living skills, and job skills training.
Community probation staff working in this way will mean, by 2017:
- 6,400 adult and 1,700 young community offenders a year receiving brief targeted interventions
- 17,000 offenders a year receiving relapse prevention and motivation interventions
- 10,000 offenders on community work sentences a year receiving basic work and living skills interventions
- 6,000 offenders a year receiving support or education and training that will lead to stable employment.