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World’s helping to reduce child sex offending

For Immediate Release 16 May 2008

Corrections’ Staff trained by the world’s best in the effort to reduce child sex offending

Men convicted of sexual offences against children are likely to be released back into the community at the end of their sentences.

The Department of Corrections is leading the world in treatment of these offenders by reducing their risk of reoffending and improving the safety of New Zealand communities.

With a current reoffending rate of only 4%, Kia Marama Special Treatment Unit continues to build on its recognised success for reducing reoffending by welcoming the visit of Canadian Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry Dr Bill Marshall, an internationally renowned expert in the treatment of sex offenders.

Principal psychologist Bronwyn Rutherford says it is a real privilege to have an expert of such a high calibre involved in the development of the unit.

“Bill has been on-board from the beginning. When Kia Marama was established in 1989, it was the first unit of its kind in the world to solely focus on the rehabilitation of child sex offenders. The unit is still leading the field, paving the way for special treatment units of this type around the world.”

Dr Marshall will be in Christchurch from the 12-16 of May, during which time he will discuss new research and contemporary methods of rehabilitating child sex offenders with Corrections staff. Bronwyn says that Bill’s visit will benefit staff, the unit and the offenders currently in treatment.

“Bill’s visit to Christchurch will provide our psychologists and prison staff with an insight into new and innovative methods in the treatment of child sex offenders. This kind of opportunity helps the unit review its existing treatment programme and make improvements that will assist in rehabilitating these offenders and provide better protection to the community.”

“We have always treasured Bill’s involvement with the unit. Bill’s expertise has helped us develop an effective rehabilitation programme that reduces the risk of the prisoners reoffending after their release.”

The specialist treatment provided at Kia Marama significantly reduces the risk of reoffending and results in safer communities.



How are the offenders rehabilitated at Kia Marama?

Prisoners are treated in groups, who meet with psychologists for three hour sessions three times a week for 33 weeks. The entire programme takes 9 months, as it includes an intensive pre and post-treatment assessment period. The therapeutic approach in the Kia Marama programme considers the physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing of each prisoner.

How effective is the Kia Marama treatment programme?

In 1986, research showed that re-offending rates for child sex offenders were around 25%. After the establishment of Kia Marama in 1989 research conducted in 1998 revealed that treatment was successfully reducing reoffending by more than 50%. Only 8% of the prisoners who had completed the Kia Marama programme had reoffended, compared with 22-25% of prisoners who had not been treated.

In 2003 further analysis of prisoners who had completed the Kia Marama programme between 1994 and 2001 found that only 4% had reoffended, indicating the programme had become even more effective with the introduction of bicultural therapy and standardised treatment modules.

What makes the treatment so effective?

The Kia Marama therapy is an entirely group-based programme structured into different modules which address the risk factors for reoffending, identified by international research. The therapeutic approach in the programme considers the physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing of each prisoner.

Research has proven that programmes, activities and therapy are most effective when matched with a prisoners rehabilitative needs, characteristics and demographics including their cultural background.

How many other Special Treatment Units are there in New Zealand?

New Zealand has five Special Treatment Units:

• Kia Marama Special Treatment Unit (Rolleston Prison) - for child sex offenders

• Te Piriti Special Treatment Unit (Auckland Prison) - for child sex offenders

• Violence Prevention Unit (Rimutaka Prison) - for violent offenders

• Karaka Special Treatment Unit (Waikeria Prison) - for very high risk serious offenders

• Puna Tatari Special Treatment Unit (Spring Hill Corrections Facility) - for very high risk serious offenders


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