Managing the irresistible force : an analysis of the means by which the Corrections Division of the Department of Justice relates to voluntary sector agencies : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters in Social Work at Massey University
This thesis engages the work of French philosopher, Michel Foucault. I use his studies on government to explore the way in which the Corrections Division of New Zealand's Department of Justice relates to voluntary-sector social work agencies. The title "Managing the Irresistible Force" refers to the Division's management of its potential to over-regulate voluntary agencies. This investigation is an historical one. It comprises two parts. The first part examines the development of community involvement policy within the Corrections Division, between 1950 and 1992. The second part enquires into the administrative practices through which the Corrections Division has related to voluntary-sector agencies. Three case studies are used in this investigation. They are those of Marriage Guidance (between 1960 and 1992), the joint-hostel ventures (of the 1960s and 1980s) and the voluntary-sector involvement as a whole since 1988. Three themes emerge from these two studies. The first is that the Corrections Division has sought public participation in the belief that such involvement improves the Division's ability to control crime. Community involvement has also been propelled by public belief about the superior humaneness of community-based sanctions compared to imprisonment. The second theme argues that the Corrections Division has primarily related to the voluntary sector by creating normative frameworks through which it has intended those agencies to interact with itself and its clients. The third theme demonstrates the Division's propensity not to interfere directly in the functions of voluntary agencies. This reticence to intrude mirrors the above observation that the Division has sought to regulate the voluntary sector indirectly through the development of normative frameworks. A contemporary issue which arises from these three themes is how voluntary-sector agencies can influence the nature of the normative frameworks which the Division constructs. The pursuit of this goal is important if those agencies are to retain a say in how they interact with the Corrections Division and its clients.