In June 2019, the Premier of New South Wales made reducing reoffending one of her top priorities.
The Premier advised that the target for this priority is to reduce adult reoffending following release from prison by 5 per cent by 2023. Some new counting rules were agreed to ensure we focus on those who commit more serious offences including personal, property and serious drug matters.
A closely related target also set by the Premier is to reduce domestic violence reoffending by offenders leaving prison, by 25 per cent by 2023.
Reducing reoffending is a very significant challenge and if there was a simple way of achieving it we would have gone down this path many years ago. Desistance from crime by an individual is a complex, psychosocial process that requires among other things a permanent and positive shift in a person's identity and sense of belonging. This is needed to facilitate reintegration into the community and the establishment of a law-abiding lifestyle.
This process of transition away from crime is different for each individual and is facilitated through social, economic or other positive life changes that enhance an individual's strengths and build positive social capital and resilience. CSNSW aims to contribute to this individual process through the delivery of high quality correctional services that:
- assist in the development of new skills and pro-social strategies
- address factors that contribute to offending behaviour
- provide a safe and prosocial environment
- build community and cultural connections and support
- ensures individuals are accountable and responsible for their behaviour.
With all our rehabilitation efforts, we will pay particular attention to inmates at higher risk of reoffending and focus on two vulnerable groups which are inmates who have a serious mental illness and separately women who are parents.
As part of these reforms we will work to make prisons better places for achieving rehabilitation outcomes and provide more opportunities for inmates to learn and the chance to change their lives.
This work will require
- staff who are highly skilled and engaged as agents of change,
- people in prison who are motivated and engaged in rehabilitation
- people in prison receiving the skills and knowledge required for rehabilitation
- people exiting prison receiving social supports to assist rehabilitation.