​Intensive programs help put inmates’ lives back on track

Publication Date: Friday, 3 August 2018
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A new unit focusing on reducing reoffending among inmates on short sentences is making great strides in rehabilitating offenders and preparing them for reintegration into the community.

The unit at Bathurst Correctional Complex in NSW’s south west is purpose-built to help the inmates get their lives back on track, and is one of 10 High Intensity Program Units planned for seven correctional centres across the state.

Governor Mark Kennedy said it was part of a four-year strategy that demonstrated the NSW Government’s commitment to reducing recidivism.

“This program targets inmates on short sentences who often have limited or no access to rehabilitation while in custody,” Mr Kennedy said.

“It is based on a set of behaviour change programs and strategies that has shown to be the most effective in reducing a person’s chance of reoffending and increasing their ability to reintegrate successfully into the community.”

The 40-place unit in Bathurst in NSW’s west, which is known as a HIPU, will focus on delivering treatment, education and programs to inmates.

Priority will be given to those serving sentences of less than six months but those serving up to 12 months will be eligible for a place in the program.

Mr Kennedy said the four-month program also linked inmates to local support services that could address their individual health or social issues to deal with the reasons that lead to them reoffending.

“The HIPU focuses on pre-release planning, including practical life and communication skills, family visits and access to local mental health services. This provides the offender with the ability to make a difference to his or her life, creating a safer community,” he said.

Over 80 new roles have been created across the state to implement the new strategy.

Offender Services and Programs Manager Peter Hall said the program targets offending and anti-social behaviour related to addiction, aggression and domestic abuse and that inmates had shown an enthusiasm to participate.

“It is designed to help participants understand the factors that led them to offend and to develop the skills they need to reduce the risk of offending again,” Mr Hall said.

“HIPU inmates have been positive about their experiences with some sharing what they have learnt with non-participating inmates. These programs offer a real opportunity to break the cycle of re-offending."