The departing head of the Corrections Department says New Zealand has too many people in prison compared to similar countries.
The department's chief executive, Barry Matthews, is about to leave after six years at the helm of the often troubled service.
Mr Matthews told Nine to Noon says the incarceration rate in Australia is about 140 for every 100,000 compared to a rate of 200 per 100,000 in this country.
He says most of those who go to prison will be returned to the community, and the Department spends about $157 million a year on rehabilitating people.
Mr Matthews says he had indicated he'd been leaving some time ago, and was not pressured to do so.