Page 3847 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 19 September 2017

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ACT Health Directorate and the patience that has been shown by external bodies while we work through this important review. I present the following paper:

ACT Health System Wide Data Review Quarterly Update—September 2017—Ministerial statement, 19 September 2017.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Recidivism rates

Ministerial statement

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety, Minister for Corrections and Minister for Mental Health) (10.28): Today I rise to make a ministerial statement on recidivism rates in the ACT. I would like to thank Mrs Jones for raising this important subject and for providing me with the opportunity to talk about the work that the ACT government is doing to reduce recidivism.

The extended through-care program is one plank in our commitment to reduce recidivism by 25 per cent by 2025. The program commenced in June 2013 with funding from the ACT government. It provides support to all female detainees returning to the community and for men who have been sentenced. It is a voluntary program and available to those with or without further supervision orders. The through-care unit’s engagement with an offender begins pre-release and continues for a period of 12 months after release. The program aims to reduce recidivism by successfully reintegrating clients into the community.

In January 2017 the University of New South Wales prepared Evaluation of ACT extended throughcare pilot program—final report. The report found that support during the transitional stage of release can reduce return-to-custody rates. The report examined the perspectives of clients and stakeholders on whether the program impacted on rates of recidivism. It also examined the administrative data to assess the return-to-custody episodes.

The report suggested that the return to custody rate for detainees has reduced and that those returning to custody are remaining in the community for longer periods on average. It also noted that outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women were particularly good, noting the very small sample size, but that return-to-custody outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men remain high.

The evaluation also showed that although there were some limitations with the data, the benefits to the community outweigh the cost of establishing and running the program. The evaluation provided important evidence for the government in its commitment to continue funding the extended through-care program.

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