The Offender Reintegration Unit provides services to offenders in the community and detainees in custody. Programs and interventions are evidence-based and updated regularly, striving to deliver a holistic model of support to offenders throughout their custody or supervision period in areas including employment, housing and throughcare.

Transitional Services

In 2020-21, ACTCS established Transitional Services, a team which now encompasses the Transitional Release Program, the Transitional Release Centre, and the ACTCS Employment Specialist position. This change acknowledges the importance of engagement with meaningful employment in addressing recidivism risks.

The Transitional Release Program provides eligible detainees with access to education, training and work opportunities in the community, as well as access to leave opportunities to spend time with their families in the community, external to the AMC environment. Through engagement with community supports and reintegrative activities, detainees can transition back into the community in a gradual and supported manner.

Operations of the Transitional Release Program have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the temporary suspension of work release, work crews and reintegration leave. In response to the pandemic, Transitional Release Centre (TRC) residents assisted in maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene of the Gatehouse Reception area of the AMC.

In 2020-21, the Transitional Release Program assisted one female and seven male detainees to transition out of custody and back into the community, all were released from custody with confirmed accommodation and supports in the community.

Throughout 2020-21, the ACTCS Employment Specialist worked with detainees and community-based offenders who had been in custody, to improve their chances of securing ongoing and meaningful employment. Support includes assistance with resumes, interview preparation, identification of suitable vacancies, support during the recruitment process, and continued support of both employees and employers for up to one year post confirmed employment. The ACTCS Employment Specialist also works closely with Job Network Providers and Job Service Providers to ensure community-based offenders are provided the appropriate level of service and support.

Justice Housing Program

ACTCS implemented the Justice Housing Program (JHP) under the ACT Government Building Communities Not Prisons initiative working in partnership with Housing ACT and community organisations to establish government housing properties that provide transitional tenancy and occupancy support for offenders without suitable accommodation in the community. In March 2021 the tenth and final JHP property became operational.

The JHP provides a total of 30 beds across ten properties to men, women and transgender people exiting the AMC without alternative suitable accommodation options in the community.

Accommodation is provided to detainees exiting the AMC on bail, parole, community orders or head sentence.  As of 30 June 2021, a total of 53 occupants have been accommodated (current and exited) in the JHP. This includes 46 men (15 Indigenous), five women (two Indigenous) and two transgender persons (one Indigenous).

ACTCS engaged Yeddung Mura to deliver a Transitional Accommodation Program (TAP) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men exiting the AMC on bail or parole. The TAP will comprise of four beds across two properties. 

Extended Throughcare

The Extended Throughcare Program continues to provide support to eligible detainees leaving the AMC across five key pillars: accommodation, training/employment, health, basic needs, and community connections. Detainees can access Extended Throughcare support after a set period in custody: women are eligible following a month in custody, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men after three months in custody, and non-Indigenous men after six months.

During this time the Extended Throughcare Program provided information to clients about changes implemented during the COVID-19 public health emergency and support available to Canberrans leaving custody. Reassurance and practical information were provided specifically to detainees released during the lockdown period. The Extended Throughcare team continued to liaise with service providers during the COVID-19 response, to ensure continued support for people leaving custody.

Overall, the number of program eligible detainees was slightly lower than the previous reporting period which may be attributed to a decrease in detainee numbers. However, the number of eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men remained the same as the previous year and, as a result, represented a larger proportion of total eligible releases. Female participant numbers decreased by 30 per cent in the current reporting period, which may be attributed to the COVID-19 public health emergency that saw a higher number of offenders granted bail by the Courts and the introduction
of the Drug and Alcohol Sentencing List.

Table 31 - Total Released to Throughcare

 

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

Male

344

331

306

294

308

Female

76

123

94

69

74

Total

420

454

400

363

382