A brief summary of the History of New Zealand Prison Chaplaincy

1st period: 1840 – 1950:  In early colonial prisons Christian services were offered to prisoners in an ad hoc manner and clergymen from particular denominations were able to visit prisoners from their denomination. As prisons evolved, Superintendents made informal arrangements with representatives of the local Churches in order for them to conduct religious services.

2nd period: 1952 – 1989:  Sam Barnett, Secretary for Justice, established a formal relationship with the National Council of churches and the Catholic Church to provide officially recognised chaplains to New Zealand prisons. The Invercargill Council of Churches was invited to appoint a chaplain to Invercargill Borstal; they were slow in acting until the Secretary threatened to appoint a chaplain himself. In November of 1953 The Rev Les Clements a Methodist Minister was appointed to Invercargill Borstal to serve as many denominations as possible.  This led to the appointment of Ecumenical and Catholic chaplains in all prisons.

3rd period: 1989 – 1999:  In 1991 and 1992 the interim chaplaincy advisory board (ICAB) and the Prison Chaplaincy Advisory Board (PCAB) was created to provide a closer church - state liaison for prison chaplaincy administration. In 1995 the Department of Corrections was established. This was the beginning of the now contracting era for Prison chaplaincy.

4th period: 2000 – 2010: The development of the contracting era. With this arrangement, the Catholic and Ecumenical Churches provided chaplains for prisons and administered the Prison Chaplaincy Service under the auspices of an independently registered charitable trust (PCSANZ). Prison chaplaincy services were also provided to the privately administered Auckland Central Remand Prison (ACRP) between 1999 and 2005.

5th period: 2011 to date: The High Trust Contract period. In 2011 the Minister of corrections the Honourable Judith Collins awarded the PCSANZ with the first High Trust Contract that was the first for the Department of Corrections. The PCSANZ were sub contracted by Serco New Zealand to provide Chaplaincy Services at the privately run Mt Eden Corrections Facility.

6th period:  2015 - 2018:  PCSANZ was awarded an Outcome Agreement (Bilateral) to provide Religious and Spiritual Services by qualified staff for prisoners at Prison Sites in Aotearoa New Zealand. PCSANZ continues to be sub contracted by Serco New Zealand to provide chaplaincy service at the privately run prisons; Mt Eden Corrections Facility and Auckland South Corrections Facility.