Ombudsman investigation into the provision of rehabilitation programs for offenders in Victoria

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Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass today announced an investigation into the provision of rehabilitation programs and transitional services for offenders in Victoria.

The investigation was prompted by the growth in prisoner numbers and concerns with rates of reoffending and the costs to the Victorian community.

“It’s no secret that Victoria’s increasing prison population has put stress on prisoner access to education and rehabilitation programs throughout their sentences," Ms Glass said.

"This enquiry will look closely at what this means for offenders, corrections staff and the community,” she said.

A particular focus for the investigation will be the provision of programs for female and indigenous offenders.

“According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2013 more than 50 per cent of Victoria’s prisoners were repeat offenders.

"We know that well managed programs in the corrections system can have a positive impact on offenders and the broader Victorian community.

"Adequate services must be available to prisoners on and before their release to support their reintegration into the community and to help reduce reoffending."

Prisons generate more complaints than any other state government entities subject to scrutiny by the Victorian Ombudsman.

In 2013-14, more than 3,000 complaints were received about prisons.

“I recognise the challenging circumstances in which Corrections Victoria work, and look forward to providing recommendations which will support future planning and service provision,” Ms Glass said.

The report is due for release in October 2014.

The Victorian Ombudsman is an independent officer of the Victorian Parliament who investigates administrative actions and decisions taken by state government agencies, statutory authorities and local government.

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