Briefing paper

Case resolution and rehabilitation programmes in Aotearoa New Zealand

Part 2 of a briefing note series
Criminal justice Recidivism Crime prevention New Zealand

This Briefing Note is the second instalment of a series of three. The series began in Briefing Note 1 with an exploration of some fundamental questions in criminal justice policy and will culminate in a set of policy approaches. This paper surveys successful trial, sentencing, and rehab programmes over the last 20 years.

Key findings

  1. Poverty and deprivation, particularly in the regions, have a significant impact on offending.
  2. Programmes do not pay sufficient attention to offenders’ therapeutic and cultural needs.
  3. Other procedural problems like insufficient legal representation, long trials, and inadequate support for vulnerable offenders can create further disadvantages for offenders.
  4. Programmes need to work with individual offenders to deliver comprehensive assessments of need and tailored services that are culturally appropriate.
  5. Successful programmes have emphasised holistic casework at all stages of the court and sentence process designed to identify and work with the root causes of an individual’s offending.


  1. Criminal justice policy as a whole needs to address procedural delays in the courts.
  2. Programmes should be developed at a local level by communities which can ensure cultural appropriateness to meet the needs of offenders.
  3. Additional focus needs to be given to support programmes after the completion of a sentence to ensure the ex-offender has adequate support to desist from further criminal behaviour.







Related Information

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