24 January 2019

Education rates and detainee employment on the rise in ACT correctional facilities

| Lachlan Roberts
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A second chance: Education and training rates in ACT correctional facilities are now the second-highest in the country.

Education and training rates within ACT correctional facilities are on the rise and are now second-highest in Australia at 77.3 per cent, which is double the national average according to new data.

According to the 2019 Report on Government Services which was released on Thursday morning (24 January), education and training rates have steadily increased and have grown by nearly seven per cent since 2016-17.

Detainee employment in the ACT is also on a steady upward trajectory with 75.6 per cent in 2017-18 compared to 74.7 per cent the previous year while the ACT’s recidivism rates of 44.2 per cent continue to be below the national average.

ACT Minister for Corrective Services and Justice Shane Rattenbury said that providing a holistic and meaningful rehabilitation program for detainees was a priority.

“We prioritise rehabilitation through employment, education and training in ACT correctional facilities to help detainees get their lives back on track and avoid re-offending when released,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“We are exploring the feasibility of further expanding industries and employment at the Alexander Maconochie Centre to provide detainees with more opportunities to build skills to help them transition back into the community.”

Although Alexander Maconochie Centre was bursting at the seams with the average daily population of inmates rising to 474 in 2017-18, ACT Corrective Services saw a decrease in assaults within its facilities, which Mr Rattenbury believes is, in part, due to new reforms in response to the Moss Review – an independent inquiry into the death of Steven Freeman in 2016.

“It is our continued commitment to ensure the safety and wellbeing of detainees in our care and we have invested more than $8.8 million for security-related matters at the Alexander Maconochie Centre,” he said.

“The funding included more CCTV cameras to help provide evidence to assist with the investigation of assaults so that offenders can be held accountable, and additional senior staff to manage security, accommodation and offender management.”

Though the re-offending rates in the ACT continue to be below the national average, Mr Rattenbury said the ACT Government is committed to further reductions and will continue to analyse evidence-based crime prevention and socially targeted programs.

“The ACT Government is continuing to invest in justice solutions to better support people in the community, including Extended Through care, and address the drivers of offending behaviour,” he said.

“The government is working in partnership with the community to change, reduce and prevent people’s contact with the justice system and help them lead positive lives.”

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