Making our Prisons Work': An Inquiry into the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Prisoner Education, Training and Employment Strategies: Report No. 6 in the 38th Parliament


This report considers vocational education, post release support and, significantly, innovative strategies to better address the issue of Aboriginal recidivism. However, while this report found that there are significant successes achieved by DCS, there are a number of critical deficiencies including: the failure to fully implement an Integrated Offender Management System; the termination of the role of Director of Women’s Prisons with its negative impact on staffing, female prisoners, prison design and the adequacy of support; and the failure to adequately translate policy into practice when delivering Aboriginal rehabilitation programs and services. The Committee noted high rates of Aboriginal recidivism and imprisonment but attributes this to a range of social, health and education factors in Aboriginal communities, notably: high levels of alcohol and substance abuse and the lack of services; the lack of employment, leading to a median household income that is half that of the rest of the community; very low levels of functional literacy; and child abuse and neglect nearly four times higher than in other communities rather than failures of the prison system. The report accordingly makes a strong recommendation that an alternative justice reinvestment pilot strategy be adopted in a community where there is a high concentration of offenders. Justice reinvestment is a data-driven approach which seeks to reduce corrections spending and reinvest savings in strategies that can decrease crime and strengthen communities. Part of the strategy is its focus on reducing reoffending by ex prisoners. Recommendations about interagency cooperation needed for the successful implementation of such a strategy are included.

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