Inspectorate to shine a light on young adults in prison

28 March 2024

We are pleased to announce that on 20 March 2024 the Inspectorate team completed visits to all 18 prisons across New Zealand for the thematic inspection into young adults in Corrections’ custody.  Since January this year, when the visits commenced, the team has met with 206 young men and women under 25 years, and 160 staff, to learn of the experiences, opportunities and challenges for young adults in Corrections’ custody. The insights gained from the visits across the prison network have proven to be invaluable for our work.

On 25 and 26 March, the Inspectorate team joined with members of the professional and academic Expert Panel and people with lived experience of the criminal justice system, another key milestone in our thematic inspection.

23 February 2024

The Inspections team has visited seven out of the 18 prisons since 15 January 2024 for the thematic inspection into young adults in Corrections’ custody. The inspectors have met with a range of staff at each site, and interviewed over 70 young men and women, both remanded in custody and sentenced to imprisonment. Those interviewed have shared their experiences and ideas on how to improve pathways and outcomes for young people under 25 years in custody.  The visits to all 18 Corrections’ custodial facilities are expected to conclude by 20 March 2024.

We have also been in contact with other international organisations which have oversight of correctional facilities in England and Wales, Scotland, Canada and Australia to identify insights and learnings from similar inspections and thematic reviews they have undertaken.

A further meeting is scheduled for the end of March 2024 with the academic, professional and lived-experience experts.

31 January 2024

Chief Inspector Janis Adair is pleased to announce the appointment of a panel of academic and professional experts from across New Zealand who will provide insights into the Office of the Inspectorate’s thematic inspection into young people and young adults in Correction’s custody.  The Expert Panel first met with key members of the Inspectorate in December 2023, for a constructive and purposeful full day session. Two further meetings are scheduled. The report is intended to be completed and published mid-2024.

The Expert Panel members are:

  • Dr James Gardiner, Forensic Psychiatrist at the Regional Youth Forensic Health Service in Auckland.
  • Dr Jarrod Gilbert, Director of Independent Research Solutions and Sociologist at the University of Canterbury.
  • Professor Ian Lambie, Chief Science Advisor for the Justice Sector.
  • Dr Valerie McGinn, Neuropsychologist, the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Centre, Aotearoa; Honorary Senior Research Fellow Department of Population Health, University of Auckland,
  • Professor Tracey McIntosh (Ngāi Tūhoe), Professor of Indigenous Studies and Co-Head of Te Wānanga o Waipapa | University of Auckland, Chief Science Advisor at Ministry of Social Development, Commissioner at Te Kāhui Tātari Ture | Criminal Cases Review Commission.
  • Tupua Urlich (Ngāti Kahungunu), National Care Experienced Lead - VOYCE Whakarongo Mai.

25 January 2024

Site visits for the Office of the Inspectorate’s Young Adult thematic inspection started this month at Mt Eden Corrections Facility, and visits to Otago Corrections Facility and Auckland Prison are underway this week. All 18 prisons will be visited as part of the thematic inspection.

This week we had a valuable two days with a group of men and women who had spent time in custody from a young age to hear of their insights and experiences, the challenges they faced when returning to the community, and what helps to keep them out of the Corrections system.

The thematic inspection aims to find out how Corrections responds to the developmental needs, challenges and opportunities for young men and women in prison, and identify concerns, examples of good practice and areas for improvement.

20 December 2023

The Office of the Inspectorate is examining the conditions and experiences of young adults under the age of 25 in Corrections’ custody.

The thematic inspection will investigate how Corrections considers and responds to the developmental needs, challenges and opportunities for young men and women in prison, identifying concerns, examples of good practice and areas for improvement.

The thematic inspection will determine whether the management of young people is consistent with the Corrections Act, Corrections Regulations, Office of the Inspectorate Inspection Standards, as well as international instruments and best practice literature.

The inspection team will meet with young men and women across all 18 prisons and also gather insights from whānau, families, supports, community providers and staff.

The inspection is supported by a range of experts, including a panel with extensive academic and professional expertise.

There is also a panel of experts with lived-experience, who now draw on their experiences to give back to others in the community.

The thematic inspection commenced in September 2023 and will issue a public report by mid-2024.

At present, under 25-year-olds make up around 10% of the total population in Corrections’ custody.

We will provide more information about the thematic inspection in early 2024.

The Terms of Reference for the thematic inspection are here: