This review has found that the Department is missing opportunities in reducing reoffending among those most likely to return to prison.
Many factors that increase the likelihood of returning to prison are beyond the Department’s control but some can be addressed by treatment in prison, education, or by support and assistance on release. It was found that prisoners released from prisons where there were identified deficiencies in service provision were more likely to reoffend.
One area that has seen significant investment with the explicit aim of reducing re-offending is the provision of psychologically-based ‘offender treatment programs’. These programs are also an influential factor in Prisoners Review Board decisions. Despite their importance there are inequities in their provision and individual programs are rarely subject to long term evaluation.
In order to improve outcomes and reduce the rate at which people return to prison, the Department needs to adopt a holistic but carefully targeted approach. This will require clear goals, well-funded strategies for improvement, and continuous measuring of effectiveness so that alterations can be made where needed.