Incarceration rate (per 100,000 inhabitants)
The authorities publish prison population figures
on an regular basis
Total number of prisoners
Overcrowding is an issue for certain penal institutions
Several prisons are known to be overcrowded.
Prisoner numbers have tripled since 1985. A 10.36% increase was observed between 2015. The rise of the prison population is due to legislation such as the Bail Amendment Act, passed in 2013, the Three Strike Regime and changes to parole.
Name of authority in charge of the prison service
Department of Corrections (Ministry of Justice)
Budget of the prison service
The prison service outsources the management of the facilities to private companies, either partially or fully
The new Auckland South Correctional Facility (ASCF) in Wiri, opened in May 2015, is operated under a public-private partnership (PPP) by Serco and the consortium Secure Future.
Spotless Facility Services Limited are subcontracted by Serco New Zealand Limited for the provision of facilities management and asset management. According to the Department of Corrections, the contract “sets clear financial incentives to drive a reduction in re-offending. Incentive payments will only be attained if prisoners released from the facility re-offend 10% less than those from the public prison network. Rehabilitative techniques developed at Auckland South Corrections Facility will become the intellectual property of Corrections and can be put in place at other sites.”1.
There are five categories of prisoners: remand accused, remand convicted, sentenced, voluntary segregated and youth. A parallel system takes into account security classification.
Prisons are usually divided by security level (maximum, high, low medium, low, minimum).
A security classification is given to prisoners within 14 days of sentencing and considers the supposed risk posed by the offender. Security classification is used to decide what unit a prisoner should be in.
15 prisons are destinated for male offenders and three for female offenders. There are also four Youth Justice Residences, for juvenile offenders.
Total number of penal institutions
Total capacity of the prison system
The size of institutions varies considerably.
The new Auckland South Correctional Facility (ASCF) in Wiri, opened in May 2015 has a 960-bed capacity. The Department of Corrections announced a plan to increase the prison capacity by 1,800 beds.
A new 245-bed block will be constructed in Mount Eden and 80 double bunking beds will be added to the Northland Corrections Facility in Ngawha1.
National Party, “Government approves plans for increased prison capacity”, Oct 18th 2016. ↩
There are ten male prisons in the North Island and five in the South Island.
The prison staff is represented by (a) union(s)
The Corrections Association of New Zealand (CANZ) is the only prison specific union. They have a partnership with the Prison Officers Association of Australasia (POAA).
The Department of Corrections also, employs around 8,000 staff members that work either inside prisons or in one the 151 Community Corrections.
Corrections officers are in charge of the secure containment of prisoners. They are the members of the staff that spend more time with inmates. They must follow a 12-month training program after recruitment.
The staff salary goes from $51,904 to $60,957 a year.
Programme facilitators are responsible for therapeutic programs that aim to help offenders take responsibility for their actions and change their behaviour. They must have a degree in psychology, social work or counselling and complete an 11-week training program.
Other staff members include instructors (who provide professional training), case managers (to follow the prisoner’s case), psychologists (to provide risk assessments and treatment), nurses, detector dog handlers, and service managers.