Corrections Officer graduation caps off a strong year

  • Hon Kelvin Davis

The graduation of 61 new Corrections Officers today caps off a strong year for the Department, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis said.

The new recruits were joined by family, friends and colleagues as they received their epaulettes in the final graduation ceremony for 2018, with Mathew Vaoese from Rimutaka Prison receiving the Minister’s Excellence Award.

“As Minister, I get a lot of value from attending these graduations. It’s fantastic that Corrections has so many people stepping up to be positive role models for those who need it most,” Kelvin Davis said.

“If we do everything we can to help break the cycle of re-offending while people are behind the wire – whether it’s through employment programmes or mental health support – then we’re making our communities safer for everyone.

“This has been a strong year for Corrections, with around 580 Corrections Officers and Offender Employment Instructors graduating since January.

“They have also worked hard to ensure existing staff are safe and supported in their roles, reflected in their low unplanned turnover rate, compared to the public service average.

“That’s an impressive achievement for a government department that employs over 9,000 people.

“As 2018 comes to a close, I really want to tautoko all the frontline staff.

“Staff in prisons did an incredible job under challenging circumstances managing prisoners safely despite the prison population peaking at 10,820 people in March this year.

“The work of our High Impact Innovation Programme has now helped to safely reduce the prison population to under 10,000. This is important because it reduces the pressure on staff and prisoners, while still keeping the public safe. 

 “Community Corrections staff have also worked tirelessly this year. We have been able to support their work through Budget 2018 which provides $82.7 million for probation and community services, including 270 more probation officers by 2022.

“I am excited about what we will be able to achieve in 2019 as we continue our work to provide safe and effective alternatives to prison, while also reducing crime and re-offending.

“Thank you to all the staff who will still be working throughout the holiday period – I wish Corrections staff and their whānau a very safe and Merry Christmas,” Kelvin Davis said.