In a first for NSW, inmates serving short sentences will undertake mandatory rehabilitation programs to reduce reoffending following the construction of a High Intensity Program Unit at Cessnock Correctional Centre.
The 2017-18 Budget allocates $20 million, from a total program of $237 million, for these ten units being opened next month across the state with Corrective Services NSW creating 87 roles to deliver programs annually to more than 1,200 male and female inmates.
The new units will deliver intensive services, programs and pre-release planning to help inmates get their lives back on track.
The 80-place unit at Cessnock will focus on inmates convicted of general violence and aggression offences, who have significant treatment needs. Offenders with less than 12 months to serve will be eligible.
Nine other units will be opened next month at Mid-North Coast, Bathurst, Wellington, Dillwynia (Windsor), South Coast and Cooma correctional centres and will focus on:
- Domestic violence - five units, with 40 inmates each, will prioritise male inmates convicted of domestic violence offences.
- Female inmates – three units will provide the program to groups of 20 and 40 women.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inmates – two units will be focused on delivering education, services and programs in a culturally appropriate way.
- General violence and aggression – This cohort of inmates has significant treatment needs and offenders with less than 12 months to serve will be eligible. One unit will provide high intensity programs to 80 inmates.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said the government was committed to reducing reoffending rates and keeping the community safe.
“Participation in the high intensity units will be mandatory,” Mr MacDonald said. “Inmates will complete the course in four months, ensuring they are ready for release and making a better contribution to the community.”
Minister for Corrections David Elliott said the NSW Government investment meant CSNSW was now in a position to service cohorts of offenders that hadn’t been effectively reached before. “These are offenders who keep returning to custody on short sentences that will now have access to intensive programs and services to try and break this cycle,” Mr Elliott said.
Scot MacDonald | 9230 2393