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Corrections dogged by staff problems

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

21 December 2007

Corrections dogged by staff problems

The Corrections Department continues to have severe issues with staffing, says National’s Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

He is releasing figures that show:

• The number of staff who ceased employment for disciplinary reasons increased by 87% in the last year, from 14 to 27.
• There were 157 inquiries into alleged misconduct in 2006/07, up 70% from just 90 the previous year.
• There were 10 investigations for inappropriate relationships with prisoners, compared to seven the previous year.
• Staff laid 33 personal grievances in 2006/07, but already 22 have been laid in the first four months of 2007/08.
• 20% of staff recruited from Samoa, Britain, and the Netherlands in 2004/05 have since left, including 6% of the Samoans, 20% of the British and 71% of the Dutch.
“These are worrying figures. The number of employment issues and staff grievances is a further indication of a department in constant crisis.

“Corrections staff are clearly under pressure due to severe overcrowding – a result of Labour’s poor planning – and this is manifested in these HR issues.

“Staff also leave when they get the run-around, and Corrections clearly has some issues in this regard.

“One minute, we have the Minister putting staff ‘on notice’ to improve their performance, and the next, the department is handing out bonuses and perks– mostly to managers. How does that look to staff who deal face-to-face with prisoners every day?

“And then there’s management’s culture of denial that they ever do anything wrong, or that there was a contraband problem.

“Good frontline staff hear all that and say why should they bother? No wonder so many of the overseas recruits don’t stay.

“Corrections needs to take a long, hard look at its culture.”

Attachment: answers to financial review questions


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