Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 2 August 2018) . . Page.. 2787 ..
(6) What kind of handover occurs for indigenous clients to other service providers following the expiry of the extended Throughcare program period.
(7) Which Indigenous service providers or agencies are engaged or consulted with regarding the Throughcare program.
Mr Rattenbury: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:
(1) Engagement with the ACT Extended Throughcare Program (the Program) is voluntary, meaning that clients are able to access the service as and when they choose. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients must voluntarily engage with the program, as is the case with all other program participants.
There are limited non-government organisations (NGOs) currently servicing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the ACT.
Notwithstanding these factors, the ACT Government is committed to providing the best possible Extended Throughcare Program. This is why a comprehensive Evaluation of the program (see below) was undertaken.
The findings of the Evaluation have demonstrated to ACT Corrective Services (ACTCS) what aspects of the program work well (the report noted, for example, the good outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women) and which aspects of the program could be improved.
ACTCS has incorporated this feedback into changes made to the program.
(2) As participation in the Program is voluntary, the evaluation did not examine the reasons why ACTCS clients fail to engage with the Program.
(3) The content of the evaluation is a matter for the reviewers. Nonetheless, the Evaluation reported on the general activities and services provided by the Program. At the time of the evaluation, these activities applied to all participants, regardless of Indigenous status.
Section 28 of the Evaluation provided further statistical data on the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the adult prison population, the program study, and the control groups.
The Evaluation noted that the Program study group and the Program control group encompassed high proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and men, reflective of the high Indigenous prison population rates.
However, following the Evaluation, in order to further increase the participation rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, ACTCS restructured the eligibility criteria, allowing eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males to access the Program after a shorter period in custody.
The proposed restructure was submitted to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body for consideration, with ACTCS receiving support for the proposal.
Additionally, ACTCS created the position of Indigenous Throughcare Transition Officer, to provide additional support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients who engage with the Program.