Kim Workman is the National Director of Prison Fellowship New Zealand, which he joined in 1995 after retiring from a public service career which included leading roles in Maori Affairs, the Police, and serving as Head of the Prison Service. Over the last fifteen years, Kim and the Fellowship have developed many innovative projects in the criminal justice sector.
In the early 1990s, Kim fostered the establishment of Kaupapa Maori prison units within the prison system — an approach which addresses the issue of cultural identity amongst Maori prisoners, and seeks to establish a commitment to positive cultural values and behaviours.
In 2003, the Prison Fellowship established the first Christian faith-based prison unit at Rimutaka Prison, Upper Hutt. This unit has already achieved the lowest drug use rate and incident rate of any prison unit in the country, and predicts that its re-offending rate will be 15% after two years of release (compared to the national average of 70%).
The Fellowship has also introduced Operation Jericho which works with a network of local churches to provide mentors for prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families. It has also led the introduction of restorative justice programmes which bring together offenders and their victims so that offenders can come to a proper understanding of the impact of their actions and to begin to make amends, and victims can gain a sense of resolution that enables them to move on with their lives.
Kim Workman has embarked on a national strategy to increase the involvement of the wider community in the prison system. This has led to the Fellowship joining with the Salvation Army to launch a “Rethinking Crime and Punishment” project aimed at raising the level of debate in New Zealand about prison and its alternatives.
In 2005, Kim Workman and Jackie Katounas of the Prison Fellowship were jointly awarded the International Prize for Restorative Justice.