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Rotorua celebrates 130 years of Probation

For immediate release

15 Aug 2016

Rotorua Community Corrections celebrates 130 years of Probation in NZ

This month the Department of Corrections is celebrating the 130th anniversary of probation services in New Zealand.

Much has changed since New Zealand was the first country in the world to introduce probation in 1886. When the service was first established there were 18 people placed on probation and by 1949 there were a total of seven full-time probation officers. In 2016 there are 1,200 full-time paid probation officers nationally managing around 30,000 people serving sentences in the community.

In 1969, Rotorua staff moved into the former police station (which today operates as a licenced premise). Following this, the office moved to a nearby building in Haupapa Street, before in 1999, moving to the current 1232 Haupapa Street site. Staff were in temporary accommodation for a period of time during the 2014-2015 year while rebuilding took place before returning to the current location.

A total of 52 probation officers, psychologists, programme facilitators, community work supervisors, managers and administrators at the site help to manage 1102 people on a range of sentences in the community from Rotorua, Reporoa, Ruatahuna, Murupara, Galatea, Kaiangaroa Rotoiti, Mourea and Mamaku.

Of those managed, 40 percent are serving a sentence of Community Work, 27 percent are under the age of 25 and 77 percent are male.

Other sentences managed include: Supervision, Intensive Supervision, Community Detention, Home Detention, Parole, Returning Offender Order, Extended Supervision, Released on Conditions and Post Detention Conditions.

Service Manager Jocelyn Comiskey highlights the important role that Community Corrections plays locally:

“Rotorua Community Corrections has a key role in preparing mountain bike tracks and walkways for the enjoyment of locals and tourists via Community Work. We also work closely with our other community partners on a range of projects that assist us reducing re-offending and ensuring public safety. Additionally, staff attend local Court proceedings and provide reports which help to support the judiciary to set the most appropriate sentences.”

Community Corrections holds people to account while providing opportunities to make positive changes which will reduce the risk of re-offending. Some of the opportunities offered by Rotorua include: Work and Living Skills Programmes, rehabilitation programmes, and employment, education and training support.

“This year 805 offenders in Rotorua have completed 34,002 Community Work hours and 1838 hours of Work and Living Skills. The Alcohol Impairment Education Programme, which is part of the Work and Living Skills suite of interventions, started in Rotorua in 2013 and has been used as a model for similar courses through out the country. A total of 289 offenders have taken part in the 27 courses, with 94 percent desisting from similar offending,” says Jocelyn.

The Department of Corrections is currently recruiting across all frontline roles. If you would like more information about working as a Probation Officer, Corrections Officer, Case Manager, Programme Facilitator, or Instructor check out the website here: http://frontlinejobs.corrections.govt.nz/

ENDS

Additional Information:

Corrections’ Central Region covers a large geographic area from just north of Te Kauwhata to just south of Turangi stretching across the widest part of New Zealand. The Corrections’ Central Region includes more than 20 Community Corrections sites and three prisons (Tongariro Prison, Waikeria Prison and Spring Hill Corrections Facility) across three Districts: Bay of Plenty, Waikato, and Rotorua/Taupo/Tokoroa.

Nationally each week the Department of Corrections manage over 35,000 sentences and orders in the community and over 9,000 people in prison. Our 8,000 staff are committed to supporting offenders to help them address their offending and gain skills that will help them lead a crime-free life.


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