A review of volunteers in New Zealand prisons has found two were active gang members - one of whom had a conviction for making P.

The review was launched by Corrections chief executive Ray Smith in July after it was revealed a volunteer at Whanganui Prison was an active gang member.

"The review found that only two people, out of nearly 7,000 individuals providing services in prisons, were active gang members," said Smith.

"The review was initiated to establish whether any existing volunteers and other specified visitors were current gang members.


"Specified visitors include contracted providers, chaplains, researchers and others providing services into prisons.

"The review also examined current approval processes for volunteers."

The review examined 6,985 specified visitors to identify any possible gang association, by using Corrections databases, Gang Intelligence Centre databases, social media and other sources.

"It found that 76 individuals (around 1 per cent) had some form of current or historical gang association."

An association included historical social media references to gangs or gang members.

"Once this group of 76 were further analysed, it was determined that two individuals were found to have active gang membership.

"One individual had not previously disclosed the extent of his active gang membership to the department.

"The other individual was an associate of a gang and had a conviction for methamphetamine production."

As a result of the review, 11 recommendations were made to improve vetting.

It did not mean isolating people who had distanced themselves from gangs, said Smith.

"Corrections accepts that someone who has clearly distanced themselves from former gang involvement can provide appropriate support for prisoners to also desist from gangs and focus on living a crime-free lifestyle.

"Current gang membership and/or active affiliation on the part of any volunteer, provider or employee is inconsistent with the Department's obligations to protect public safety and rehabilitate offenders as gang members are disproportionately perpetrators of violence and crime both inside and outside of prisons."