Reducing reoffending through improved access to technology

Directorate: Offender Management and Programs

Division: Corrective Services NSW

Project summary

Using technology to increase opportunities for offenders with disability to participate in programs that can improve their chances to not reoffend.

Focus Area: 

  • Improving access to mainstream services through better systems and processes.

Project objective

The project aims to reduce reoffending for offenders with disabilities by increasing opportunities to engage with criminogenic programs and case planning regardless of correctional centre location.

The Specific Needs portfolio includes offenders with disabilities and acute mental health. Services and Programs Officers in both the State-wide Disability Service and Mental Health Screening Unit are specialized staff, responsive and inclusive to inmates with a disability. The ability to access technology to engage with inmates State-wide increases intervention pathways and support for inmates with a disability.

Creating opportunities to engage in programs will increase treatment dosage by improving accessibility to programs. From April until June 2020, there has been a decrease in the number of NDIS participants engaging in programs. Technology could increase the number of inmates engaging in programs.

The option to provide programs through technology also reduces risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to potentially vulnerable offenders.

Increase State-wide Disability Service (SDS) ability to provide specialised input during case management conferences for inmates with specific needs regardless of location with technology. The ability to case plan, with advice from specialised staff including NDIS providers, will potentially reduce the risk of homelessness for offenders with psycho-social and other disabilities.

Preliminary findings indicate approximately a third of offenders found unsuitable for programs due to a disability over a twelve month period could have engaged with programs. The Specific Needs business unit, a specialised unit could determine functional capacity and ensure offenders are able to engage state-wide and not denied access to programs.

The use of technology will ensure continuity of case-plans.

  • Increase the EQUIPS suite of programs including EQUIPS Foundation, EQUIPS Addiction, EQUIPS Aggression and EQUIPS Domestic Abuse, Mood Management and RUSH

Increase capacity to support high risk offenders in rural and/or remote locations

Increase the number of offenders found suitable for programs based on functional assessments.

  • Protect offenders with disabilities potentially vulnerable in certain environments by ensuring correctional centre placement is determined based on accommodation needs rather than program needs
  • Increase access to specialised staff within the specific needs units
  • Provide advice and support regarding case plans, behaviour plans, re-integration etc.

A range of technological options are being explored including:

  • LiViT, a video conference system
  • Jabba
  • JustConnect
  • Teleconference
  • Audio Visual Link.

The challenge

Providing criminogenic programs for offenders with disabilities is challenging due to smaller numbers of offenders, logistics and management of risks. The ability to link offenders to programs using technology will increase the range of behaviour change programs available to offenders with disabilities. It will also increase program dosage.

Specific Needs have conducted a gap analysis. Three areas could be improved by CSNSW technology. These include, linking with:

  • NDIS Support Coordinators, providing case conferences and increasing access to criminogenic programs to address offending behavior.
  • Program engagement (including EQUIPS Aggression and EQUIPS Domestic Abuse - during the last financial year, neither Aggression or Domestic Abuse were able to be facilitated with the Additional Support Unit due to low number).
  • Case conferences between NDIS providers,
  • State-wide disability providers and
  • CSNSW staff including case managers will provide a seamless planning for offenders with disabilities.

Why is this important?

The Premiers Priorities include reducing reoffending

  • This project supports increased access to interventions known to reduce the risk of reoffending including, criminogenic programs, seamless case planning and increased access to disability providers.
  • Holistic Case Planning to assist complex clients
  • Opportunities to engage flexibility to address offenders with disabilities offending behaviour
  • Improved access to specialised facilitators (with a background in Disability and Mental Health)
  • Increased reintegration opportunities

What will success look like?

  • Reduction in reoffending
  • Increased engagement for offenders with a disability
  • Seamless case planning with
  • Increased state-wide support for offenders with disabilities
  • Specialized advice and support for staff supporting offenders with disabilities
  • A wider range of programs and more frequent programs provided to offenders with disabilities
  • Increase in program dosage

How will you measure success?

  • Pilot commenced.
  • Quality Assurance and control package developed.
  • Increase in the number of offenders with disabilities engaging in criminogenic programs.
  • Increase in the number of offenders with disabilities completing programs.
  • Number of offenders with disabilities engaging in NDIS case conferences increased.

Status report

Current Status: Progressing

Date: 12/10/2020

Status Notes:

Status Explanatory Note:

Status reports provided:

Last updated:

24 Nov 2021

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