The head of the Parole Board wants far greater use of halfway houses as a way to integrate prisoners back into society.
Judge David Carruthers has made the recommendation at the Prison Fellowship's annual conference in Upper Hutt.
He told delegates 269 people are on preventive detention, or indefinite imprisonment, in New Zealand at present. Only 16 of those are on parole.
Judge Carruthers says the board is releasing fewer and fewer preventive detainees because it is now very hard to find stable accommodation for them.
He says Canada has nearly 400 halfway houses, and six times more effectiveness in preventing reoffending.
Singapore, Australia and the United States also make use of the halfway house model, which Judge Carruthers says there is a real need for in New Zealand.