The Department of Corrections was established on 1 October 1995, following government decisions on the recommendations of the Review of the Justice Department in 1994.
The Department's core business is the management of custodial sentences (imprisonment and home detention) and non-custodial sentences and orders (eg supervision, community work and parole) imposed by the courts. Corrections also provides information to the judiciary (such as pre-sentence reports about offenders) to inform decision making, and provides support services to the New Zealand Parole Board.
Corrections operates 19 public prisons, 12 Community Probation Service area offices (with staff at around 140 locations nationwide), eight Psychological Service offices, and the Department's head office, which is located in Wellington. There are also prison-based units with special areas of rehabilitation treatment or focus - three drug and alcohol units, two sex offender treatment units, a violence prevention unit, five Maori focus units and four youth units.