One of the Department of Corrective Services' biggest goals is to help offenders gain the skills they need to live a law-abiding lifestyle once their sentence is complete.
One way to help achieve this is through a range of programs and interventions which target offending behaviour such as substance abuse and violence programs.
Over the past 2 years, the Department has made considerable progress in the number and quality of programs and interventions on offer. As a result the numbers of offenders in programs, both in the community and prisons, has jumped significantly.
There is a widely-held public opinion that the Department can 'cure' people of their offending behaviour however the reality is much different. Instead, the Department aims to help them get their lives back on track by better understanding their offending behaviour and learning new ways to avoid reoffending.
The Department offers programs that address addiction, violent offending, general offending, sex offending and those that work to improve a prisoner's cognitive skills.
Addressing offender drug and alcohol use
A large proportion of the State's prisoners have some sort of alcohol or drug-related problem that has contributed to their imprisonment.
To help rehabilitate people with alcohol and drug dependencies, the Department offers a Pathways Program - an intensive, 21 week program focusing on reducing reoffending and substance abuse.
Graduates from this program can be given priority to move into Drug Free Units available at Wooroloo, Albany, Bandyup and Acacia prisons. The units provide a drug free environment for prisoners.
The Pathways Program is available at Albany, Bandyup, Boronia, Bunbury, Casuarina, Karnet and Wooroloo prisons.
The Department also runs gender-specific and culturally appropriate substance-abuse programs for prisoners.
The Department recently released its drug and alcohol strategy and action plan aimed at reducing alcohol and drug use, associated harm, anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour by offenders (see Further Reading below).
Types of offending
When a person commits an offence and is jailed, they have the option of undergoing a range of treatment programs to help them identify their problem areas. These include sex offending, violent offending and general offending programs.
Sex offending programs cover a range of issues including victim empathy, social perspective taking and critical reasoning. The aim is to give participants the skills and insight they need to accept responsibility for their offending behaviour. Many programs are voluntary, and therefore offenders who continue to deny their offence cannot take part. For this reason, the Sex Offender Deniers Program was introduced in 2008 and currently runs at Casuarina and Karnet prisons.
A number of violent offending programs are run at prisons throughout the State. These programs look at the causes of violent offending and help prisoners develop positive behaviour and attitudes. Domestic violence programs are also available for male prisoners and focus on accepting responsibility for actions.
General offending programs aim to help offenders get a better understanding of why they offended, using a range of treatment methods including problem solving, relapse prevention and safety planning. They also help them work toward improving various aspects of their lives. Programs designed specifically to meet the needs of women have also been introduced.
The Department runs a variety of programs that work to improve a prisoner's problem solving and social interaction skills and to help them understand their personal beliefs and values.
A Building on Aboriginal Skills (BOAS) program is available in many regional prisons. This is designed for Aboriginal prisoners who want to reconnect with their land and culture while learning cognitive skills and postive behaviour.
Delivered by prison officers, both programs are available Statewide.
Page last updated: 18-Oct-2013