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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 14 February 2008) . . Page.. 285 ..

Finally, I want to talk about crime prevention generally. It is generally said that $1 saved through prevention activities represents $8 saved in later intervention, support and the impacts arising from crime. So investment in crime prevention initiatives saves us money as a community. Crime prevention covers a broad range of strategies, from early intervention through to what some call tertiary intervention—that is, working with those already in the system. It includes community initiatives such as Neighbourhood Watch, as well as approaches such as “designing out crime” when it comes to designing public places and buildings.

The government has supported a range of tertiary prevention programs targeting high-risk recidivist offenders. Those offenders that continue to commit crime are one of our biggest priorities. But how do we deal with those who become recidivist offenders? One strategiy used when working with recidivist offenders involves identifying their risk to the community. Adult and juvenile correctional agencies use a range of risk assessment tools to gauge the risk of offenders. The higher the risk of an offender reoffending, the higher the level of resources that are directed at providing intensive support and supervision.

One of the ways that we hope to assist recidivist offenders that cycle through the criminal justice system is through the programs that we might be able to develop for them while they are in custody, and that is why we are about to open our first prison. The challenge for the government, which we have welcomed and taken up, is to develop a prison from scratch, based upon international best practice. Best practice involves providing appropriate programs for offenders whilst in custody that address the underlying causes that have led to their offending behaviour in the first place. The development of a new prison means that we are not dealing with an entrenched prison culture, and this is a situation that other jurisdictions would love to be in. We are focusing on rehabilitation.

What are some of the specific programs that we have to help to address the issues around high-risk repeat offenders? We have a program called the court drug and alcohol assessment scheme, which is a drug diversion program, for offenders involved with drugs. The police or courts may refer alleged offenders to the CADAS, as it is known, for support in addressing their substance abuse.

I have sought today to outline a range of initiatives that the government has in place to deal with community safety issues in Canberra. They can involve practical law enforcement and compliance measures on the street, designing out crime, dealing with the crimes of most concern—whether it is property crime, domestic violence or sexual assault—providing support for offenders and addressing their recidivist behaviours, and reducing the costs to the community down the track. That is the government’s commitment. We have a strong commitment both in terms of providing additional police and in terms of intervention, and we will continue to take that approach.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (4.22): I am happy to speak on this motion today, as it is one that has received quite a bit of attention in the last few weeks, with some instances of violence that have occurred in ACT licensed venues and the vicinity.

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