Annual Report 2017-2018 OmbudsmanNT
Tabled paper 934
Tabled Papers for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT
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34 Recommendations 7 and 8 relate to specific and immediate concerns regarding the many issues raised in the report: 7. Corrections develop, in consultation with the Ombudsman, a detailed plan to pursue and address all of the issues raised in Chapter 8 and Volume 2 of this report. The plan should set out an initial response to each issue, a description of proposed actions to address the issue, the resource implications of those actions, the source of any additional funding required, measurable outcomes and a timeline for action. The plan should provide for action on priority issues within a matter of weeks or months but in any event should provide for implementation of all actions within two years of finalisation of this report. The broad topics covered by the plan will include: a. overcrowding; b. housing and facility issues; c. education and rehabilitation programs; d. employment opportunities; e. health care; f. the basics (clothing, hygiene, food, and recreational activities); g. underlying supports (induction, legal assistance, making complaints and using interpreters); and h. children in prison. 8. Corrections provide the Ombudsman with a copy of the initial plan within three months of the finalisation of this report, and updates on progress every three months thereafter. Corrections meet with the Ombudsman staff to discuss progress on each occasion. I received a detailed update on progress of these recommendations from the Acting Commissioner of Corrections in August 2018. The Acting Commissioner referred to the considerable work undertaken in developing a Throughcare Integrated Case Management model that appeared likely to address many aspects of the issues I raised in my report. However, a decision on whether investment in this model is the best way forward is still pending. The schedule containing the detail of the August update is set out on the following three pages. In its September update, AGD advised: A further update is anticipated for October 2018, to include reference to female prisoner engagement with the Transitional Accommodation Program (Prison to Work initiatives), and the recommendations made by the Corrective Services Administrators' Council and the Corrective Services Ministers' Council, those being: to develop evaluation frameworks for programs designed by women (which the NT is already undertaking); to improve access to community and health services for vulnerable women when released from custody; and for all jurisdictions to distribute Women in Prison action plans. Progress is being made but much still needs to be done even at the most basic levels. Planned initiatives need to be funded, implemented and sustained. As I noted in my Ombudsmans overview, there are no easy options for Government. There is enormous need. There must be fundamental change. It requires substantial investment in challenging economic times. But it is an essential investment for all of our futures.
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