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Department of Corrections

Reducing re-offending
Strategic goals
Managing offenders
Māori re-offending
Pressures on demand
Improving capability

Reducing re-offending

The Department of Corrections manages custodial and non-custodial sentences imposed by the courts on offenders. This includes prison sentences and home detention plus community-based sentences such as community work and supervision.

The Department also provides support services to the New Zealand Parole Board and provides information to the judiciary. Corrections is one of four core departments in the justice sector along with the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Courts and the Police Department.
The Department consists of six groups and services:

  • Public Prisons Service
  • Probation and Offender Services
  • Corporate Management
  • Policy Development
  • Finance
  • Strategic Services.

Corrections has about 5,000 full-time and part-time staff working at about 220 sites around the country. The sites include 17 public prisons, 12 Community Probation Service area offices and 144 service sites, eight Psychological Service offices, three prison-based special treatment units and the Department’s head office in Wellington.

Strategic goals

The Department has four key strategic goals to reduce re-offending:

  • taking a structured and integrated approach to managing offenders
  • reducing re-offending by Māori
  • meeting increased pressures on demand
  • improving organisational capability.

Managing offenders

The Department takes a best practice approach to ensure that its programmes for offenders are targeted, consistent, cost effective and proven to reduce re-offending. Tools specially designed for New Zealand are used to accurately predict the likelihood of re-offending.

The Department offers a range of programmes that address the rehabilitation needs of offenders as well as programmes in areas such as violence prevention, drug and alcohol addiction, driving offending and education, and vocational training.
The Straight Thinking programme, for example, teaches offenders how to think through and manage their actions. This has been delivered successfully for several years, as have other programmes designed to address sexual offending against children and violent offending.

Māori re-offending

A key strategic goal of the Department is to reduce re-offending by Māori, who are disproportionately represented among those in Corrections’ care.

The Bicultural Therapy Model offers Māori the option of psychological treatment from a bicultural perspective in conjunction with Māori healers. Emphasis on whanau and iwi support is encouraged with a view to fostering cultural awareness and reducing Māori re-offending. Five prisons currently have Māori Focus Units, which aim to incorporate Tikanga Māori into the daily life of the unit.

Pressures on demand

Forecasts predict, in the short and long term, an increase in the number of people offending. The Department is ensuring that it has the facilities and services in place to meet the demands this will bring. At the same time, the Department is working to reverse this predicted trend and thereby contributing to safe communities.

Improving capability

Improving organisational capability is key to the success of all the Department’s goals. This means more effectively combining the people, resources, systems and structures necessary to provide goods and services efficiently. The Department underpins this work by focusing on achieving its core business goals and enabling it to take new initiatives.

Find out more!

Department of Corrections
Private Box 1206, Wellington
Tel: (04) 499 5620; Fax: (04) 460 3208




Photo shows young men digging and removing weeds from a river site.

Community Probation Service work parties uncover a locomotive from Oreti River, Southland.


Photo shows an inmate and supervisor checking bread in an industrial oven.

An inmate learns bakery skills through Corrections Inmate Employment at Waikeria Prison.