This paper considers the reforms and investment needed to achieve a reduction to reoffending in Victoria.
Our analysis is drawn from our long experience working with prisoners and ex-prisoners and is reinforced with evidence from the emerging international research on ‘desistance’ – the factors that contribute to people stopping offending.
The paper describes the complexity of transitioning from prison to the community, and highlights the needs and experiences of people returning to the community.
It proposes both priority and longer-term reforms to improve Victoria’s approach to transitioning people from prison to the community.
It recommends that the Victorian Government should:
- Commit to achieving a 15 per cent reduction in reoffending over the next five years.
- Invest in the development and evaluation of an expanded model of transitional support services that are targeted at people exiting prison who have been assessed as highly vulnerable
- Ensure there is a proactive, planned and well resourced approach to preparing every person in prison for transition back into the community.
- Expand existing initiatives and pilot and evaluate new projects focused on building the capability of Victorian families and communities to support people leaving prison
- Prevent homelessness among people exiting prison by delivering a diverse range of housing and support options that meet their needs.
- Put in place processes to enable a seamless transition between health, disability, and alcohol and drug services in and out of custody.
- Increase investment in prisoner education to drive up the education participation rates of Victorian prisoners, including hard to reach learners, and develop pathways to training, education and work opportunities in the community.
- Alongside the Sentencing Advisory Council, closely monitor the impact of the implementation of the Callinan parole review reforms to ensure that the parole system provides effective supervision and support for prisoners transitioning into the community.