Page 4189 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 26 November 2013
MADAM SPEAKER: Before I call anyone else to ask a question without notice, I acknowledge the presence in the gallery of staff from Canberra Connect. Welcome to the Assembly.
Ms Gallagher: We will refer all questions to you!
MADAM SPEAKER: That would be disorderly.
MADAM SPEAKER: Order!
Questions without notice
Alexander Maconochie Centre—rates of recidivism
MR COE: My question is to the Minister for Corrections. One of the core principles in the building of the AMC in the ACT was to provide an environment in which prisoners would benefit from programs which would decrease their likelihood of returning to prison. The Justice and Community Safety Directorate noted in its annual report that “the ACT may be expected to have high rates of recidivism”. In 2012-13 there was an 11 per cent increase in prisoners reoffending and returning to prison. Minister, is this increased reoffence rate another failure of the AMC?
MR RATTENBURY: I thank Mr Coe for the question. There are a number of elements to your question and I will try to take each of them in turn. It certainly remains the absolute focus of the AMC to provide people with programs and skills to maximise the chance of them not reoffending. Those take a number of forms, including educational programs, programs that deal with behavioural issues, such as anger management, and also programs that are directed at alcohol and other drug problems. That is the answer to the first part of the question, in short.
The second part then went to the issues of recidivism data that are contained in this year’s annual report. Mr Coe is right in citing those numbers. I can say several things: the first is that I think it is fair to observe that the recidivism data for the AMC is a very short series at this point. It has only started being reported in the last two years. The way the numbers are worked out, it requires a two-year period before you can report the first set. So with the AMC only being open for four years, we have only had two sets of data. So I think it is quite a short series to be making significant conclusions from.
The second thing I would say—if I recall correctly we went over this in annual reports hearings; so for those members who were there forgive me for repeating it—is that certainly in the AMC we do have a population that is considered to be the more difficult group of offenders in the sense that because the ACT has such a low imprisonment rate of people per head of population—those that are sent to jail—it tends to be the more serious offenders. Therefore, they are the ones that are more likely to be recidivists in the future.