Page 626 - Week 02 - Thursday, 16 February 2017

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Madam Assistant Speaker, the criminogenic needs of detainees are complex. Many detainees lead lives affected by health conditions, substance addictions, experiences of trauma or limited education and literacy. As with the Auditor-General’s report, the standing committee report also recognised the complexities in providing rehabilitative services within the AMC. But it is essential that we focus more efforts on rehabilitating people in the criminal justice system to reduce recidivism and improve community safety.

As I outlined when tabling the government response to the Auditor-General’s report, the development of an overarching rehabilitative framework that is suitable to the particular environment at the AMC is challenging. Integrated rehabilitation solutions within the AMC are being constantly developed and refined as the facility itself matures.

I can advise the Assembly that work is currently underway to develop a comprehensive rehabilitation framework that will provide an inclusive and holistic offender management framework for both detainees and community corrections clients, and for both men and women. This framework will shape a seamless service delivery model for offenders, including addressing risk and enhancing skills to support detainees to make more pro-social choices.

The ACT government has invested in building greater capacity for rehabilitation of AMC detainees in terms of the physical infrastructure, and that is an ongoing process that will continue in the years ahead. In 2016 the new prisoner industry and multipurpose facilities were completed at the AMC. A haircutting facility, expanded laundry and a new bakery have created increased opportunities for detainees to participate in employment opportunities as part of a medium to long-term strategy to add structured time to out of cell activities. The recently released report on government services data shows that there has been a notable increase in detainee employment participation in the 2015-16 financial year.

I am pleased that the ACT government continues to be the strongest performing jurisdiction in Australia when it comes to detainees in education and training, with a rate more than double the national average.

Expansion of the AMC accommodation facilities, completed since the Auditor-General’s report, has enabled the extension of accommodation-based program delivery. An excellent example of this is the residential solaris therapeutic community, which is run within a wing of one of the new accommodation units. This program addresses behaviours relating to addiction.

In addition, the opening of the special care centre has provided an accommodation wing in which detainees who are vulnerable and require ongoing psychological care can access appropriate treatment. This facility, along with the opening of the secure mental health unit, or Dhulwa, now sees a three-tiered accommodation placement system for detainees requiring specialised mental health care.

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