Justice Minister Andrew Little has confirmed a decision will be made regarding the future of Waikeria prison within two weeks.
He made the comments on RadioLIVE Drive with Lisa Owen and Ryan Bridge. The Government originally promised to make the decision by the end of March but are pushing the deadline to mid-April.
- 'Tough on crime' policies increasing New Zealand's prison population - report
- Justice Minister Andrew Little: 'What I saw in Waikeria Prison horrified me'
This announcement comes the same day as a new report which says tough crime policies are responsible for ballooning prison populations.
The report - released by the Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman - suggests a focus on early intervention and rehabilitation would lead to better outcomes.
"It seems we keep imprisoning more people in response to dogma not data, instead of evidence-based approaches to prevention, intervention, imprisonment and rehabilitation," it said.
Mr Little has previously said on Newshub Nation he wants to shift justice policy towards rehabilitation in order to lower prison numbers, saying what he saw when visiting Waikeria Prison "horrified him".
"You have to ask yourself whether this is a place where someone can go from being bad to being good."
Mr Little said he remained open to the idea of amending bail laws, which Labour previously supported tightening, but says there was no specific plan in place to change them
The Minister said within two or three months there would be a "high profile summit on criminal justice issues to get public debate going".
Prison populations are projected to soar to over 12,000 by 2022.