Submissions open on Corrections Amendment Bill

Wed 12 Jul 2023

The Corrections Amendment Bill proposes some changes that relate to family and sexual violence. Submissions are due by 10 August 2023.

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Submissions open on Corrections Amendment Bill

The Justice Committee is calling for submissions on the Corrections Amendment Bill.

Submissions are due by 10 August 2023.

The Corrections Amendment Bill would make changes to the Corrections Act 2004. Some of these changes relate to family violence and sexual violence including people who use violence and victim/survivors.

The purpose of the bill is to improve rehabilitation, reintegration and safety outcomes in the Corrections system. The bill is responding to the changing and increasingly complex environment for Corrections and the over-representation of Māori in prison.

The Beehive media release highlights key points of the proposed legislation:

  • "Better access to services and programmes for remand prisoners
  • Improved rehabilitation and reintegration outcomes for all prisoners in the Corrections system
  • Updated monitoring of prisoner communications and activities to support prison and public safety, including for victims of crime
  • Strengthened disciplinary processes to hold prisoners to account, plus updated monitoring tools to ensure prison safety."

Ara Poutama Aotearoa | Department of Corrections does not currently have the ability to monitor digital communications of prisoners such as email, video calling or internet services. The bill includes changes that would allow Corrections to monitor digital communications in limited situations. Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis highlighted:

"For example, we need to know if a prisoner is contacting a registered victim or threatening people in the community. But at the same time I expect these powers to always be used appropriately and only when necessary."

Minister Davis also highlighted that:

"Currently people on remand have limited access to programmes, such as alcohol and drug treatment, because they cannot be mixed with sentenced prisoners who have been found guilty of a crime, but that doesn't mean they should be stopped from getting the help they need."

The Corrections Amendment Bill proposes allowing prisoners to be mixed in the following situations (see clause 45, emphasis added):

"(i)mixing of accused and convicted persons for non-offence-based programmes (such as therapeutic, education, kaupapa Māori, or religious-based programmes) if it is not practicable or therapeutic to provide the programmes separately:

(ii) mixing of accused and convicted persons who are allowed to keep their children with them in prison if it is not practicable or therapeutic to keep the persons separate:

(iii) mixing of young persons (within the meaning given in the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989) and adult prisoners if it is in the best interests of the young persons:"

The bill is also designed to build on Hōkai Rangi, the Corrections | Ara Poutama Aotearoa Strategy. The bill's explanatory note states "This Bill inserts pragmatic legislative provisions that provide for the Crown’s intention to give effect to the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti)." The note provides an overview of how the bill will do this.

The bill includes other amendments to address best practice which include body imaging technology as an alternative to a rub-down search, and clarifications related to when strip searches may be carried out.

Submissions on the bill can be made online. For questions contact the Justice Committee at 04 817 9520 or

Related news

In June 2023, the Chief Ombudsman published the report Kia Whaitake | Making a Difference: Investigation into Ara Poutama Aotearoa | Department of Corrections (2023). It calls on Ara Poutama Aotearoa | the Department of Corrections to urgently address workplace culture and leadership issues to achieve lasting change. See the related media below for responses to the report from Minister Kelvin Davis and Corrections Chief Executive Jeremy Lightfoot.

In May 2023 Ara Poutama Aotearoa | the Department of Corrections launched their Implementation Plan (2023) responding to Te Aorerekura: The National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence. In launching the plan Ara Poutama Aotearoa said the plan outlines how Corrections will build on existing work "...recognising that a significant proportion of people on sentences and orders have lived experience of violence. Grounded in mātauranga Māori, the plan acknowledges the need to be driven through the lens of te Ao Māori." Minister Marama Davidson and Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis spoke with Waatea News about the Ara Poutama Aotearoa implementation plan.

Related media

Pursuit of victim relentless: judge, Otago Daily Times, 24.11.2023

31 justice organisations back open letter calling for 'responsible approach to justice', People Against Prisons Aotearoa media release, Voxy, 17.07.2023

Prisoners paying a double price for their crimes, report suggests, as some struggle to get money lives on track, Stuff, 09.07.2023

Kelvin Davis pushes back on Ombudsman’s damming Corrections report, NZ Herald, 29.06.2023

Rawiri Waititi calls for Corrections transformation after scathing review, NZ Herald, 29.06.2023

Essential Māori part of the oversight of prisons, Minister Davis, Waatea News, 29.06.2023

'Disconnection at all levels': Ombudsman's scathing review of Corrections, Stuff, 28.06.2023

Minister of Corrections Kelvin Davis pushes back on Ombudsman’s report, Waatea News, 28.06.2023

Corrections needs to urgently fix culture and leadership, chief ombudsman says in new report, RNZ, 28.06.2023

An unexpected political alignment on law and order, Newsroom, 26.06.2023

Five years on remand: Justice system breaks its own record, Newsroom, 06.10.2022

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