This paper overviews the findings of a two-year, multi model research project conducted by the Community Restorative Centre and the University of New South Wales, examining the impact of reintegration and support programs for people leaving prison or at risk of incarceration. The research into the outcomes into clients of the Community Restorative Centre show that the service has a dramatic impact in reducing re-offending and reimprisonment. The paper will report on the key findings of the report including that for the cohort of 483 CRC clients receiving support between 2014 and 2017:
- The number of new custody episodes fell by 62.6% following CRC support
- The number of days in custody fell by 65.8%
- The number of proven offences fell by 62.1%
The paper will also overview the comparison analysis which showed significant social and economic benefits to CRC programs, including savings to the criminal justice system of up to $16 million over three years for an intake of 275 new clients. The qualitative component of the research which unpacks the elements of the service delivery model that people leaving prison found effective will also be explored. The multi-faceted evaluation makes a strong case for greater investment in community led post-release programs that work holistically and support people in the community for at least 12 months (and often longer term) after they leave custody. The analysis also shows the importance of community led post-release programs for people who have cycled in and out of prison as a consequence of drug and alcohol use, homelessness, mental illness and disability.
Mindy Sotiri BSW (UNSW) PhD (UNSW) has worked in prisoner reintegration and post-release support for twenty years. She has been in her current role for the last seven years, and in this capacity has been responsible for researching, developing and implementing evidence based best-practice with complex needs populations across a range of different program areas. Mindy serves on the Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Board, is currently the community sector representative on the multi-agency High Risk Offender Assessment Committee, and is regularly called on to provide expert advice on community based post-release to both government and the NGO sector. In 2016 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to continue her research into best practice in post release in the international context.