Letter to Hon. Gerry McCarthy MLA from Priscilla Collins Chief Executive Officer North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency NAAJA's response to the New Era in Corrections dated 23 February 2011
Tabled paper 1429
Tabled Papers for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled By Gerald McCarthy
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.
Recommendation 8: More post release supported accommodation should be made available to reintegrating offenders. Strategy 2.4.2 of the NILJF suggests governments [ijncrease the availability, scope and effectiveness of transition support programs for offenders. There is a dire lack of post release support and accommodation in the Top End region. This is a significant impediment to successful offender reintegration, and is also a key predictor of early recidivism. NAAJA urges Government to rectify this situation in the New Era. NAAJA notes that whilst the New Era in Corrections announcement suggested that additional post release support and accommodation will be resourced, there appears only scant mention of Non-Government Organisation operated post release accommodation facilities. Government has provided no time frame, or estimated expenditure. Appropriate post release support and accommodation is crucial to reintegration and successfully reducing recidivism rates. This should be a central focus of the New Era. New Prison and Custody Centres Recommendation 9: Increased funding to Correctional Services should not be at the expense of adequately resourcing Community Corrections: rehabilitation should predominantly occur within a community context. Government strategies of increasingly relying on sentences of incarceration, and funding the construction and operation of detention facilities, are not satisfactorily improving community safety or addressing Aboriginal over-incarceration. A primary focus of the New Era should be on investing in Community Corrections and non custodial sentencing alternatives. This should be coupled with an emphasis on resourcing rehabilitation, reintegration and education programs that occur predominantly in a community, rather than custodial, setting. NAAJA supports the focus of the Doug Owston Prison being on education, rehabilitation, training and reintegration. Likewise, we support the building of a custodial mental health facility. However we are concerned that funding for Correctional Services is at the expense of funding for Community Corrections. Community Corrections must be adequately funded if its community focussed mandate is to be put into proper effect. Prison can not operate as a quasi rehabilitation service. The prison experience is inherently isolating and anti-social. It institutionalises offenders into an artificial environment, and it can not replace the pro-social benefits of an offender receiving rehabilitation within a functional community environment.