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Annual Report 2017-2018 OmbudsmanNT



Annual Report 2017-2018 OmbudsmanNT

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Tabled paper 934


Tabled Papers for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT






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31 Courts and authorities must have a wide range of well-resourced options for dealing with less serious offenders. Many options will be non-custodial. Where a custodial term is considered essential, custodial environments need to be designed with women in mind to accommodate the limited risks they actually present. Implementation of Ombudsman recommendations The Chief Ministers initial response to the report, stated on its tabling in the Legislative Assembly, is set out in my 2016/17 Annual Report. In January 2018, the Chief Minister provided me with a detailed Women in Prison Strategic Action Plan prepared by Correctional Services. In his letter, he stated: The Action Plan articulates specific elements of the NTCS reform agenda that targets Report recommendations and has been structured to outline: broad reform strategies to achieve outcomes; focus areas to direct resources to priority actions; and specific projects that deliver output activities. The Action Plan highlights broad Government initiatives as well as projects and activities that target recommendations applicable across all correctional services. This includes the proposed actions to address Recommendation 7 in relation to female prisoners held at the Alice Springs Correctional Centre as per findings in Chapter 8 and Volume 2 of the Report. A number of concerns identified in the Report align with recommendations of earlier reports including the 'A Safer Northern Territory Through Correctional Interventions' Report (the Hamburger Review) and the Council of Australian Governments 'Prison to Work' Report. These recommendations more specifically relate to broad issues surrounding access to employment, education and cultural programs for female offenders. As part of the NTCS Continuous Improvement Program, a mapping exercise has been undertaken to ensure each reports' recommendations are addressed through the NTCS business planning process, and that projects, activities and initiatives that improve conditions for women in prison are not developed in isolation. In order to ensure that reforms are implemented and sustained at an operational level, a Female Offender Management Working Group was established in 2017 and its terms of reference have been revised to target the specific improvements outlined in Chapter 8 and Volume 2 of the Report. A copy of the revised terms of reference and draft workplan are attachments A and B to the Action Plan. The Action Plan is necessarily expansive to adequately address the strategic, directional and immediate intentions of the recommendations. It is foreseen that the Action Plan will remain a living document during the period of its implementation and will be the subject of revisions, by agreement, between the Office of the Ombudsman and the Commissioner of Correctional Services. My Office has continued to pursue with Correctional Services and the Department of the AttorneyGeneral and Justice (AGD) the specific issues raised in Recommendation 7 and Volume 2 of my report. I have met with the Commissioner of Corrections on a monthly basis and also with the Chief Executive of AGD and the Attorney-General in relation to the recommendations. In February 2018, I visited the Alice Springs Correctional Centre with the then Commissioner to review progress. In an update received in September 2018, the AGD made the following general comments: as previously indicated, many of the issues raised in the Report are similar to issues in other reports in past years including the Hamburger Report released in 2016. These issues have directed the work and reforms in Correctional Services;