$40 million and …

Okay the Corrections Department under Government has spent a whopping $40 million on a new database to help stop prisoners reoffending.

The “integrated offender management” (IOM) system was described by the Corrections Department in 2000 as “the biggest single initiative the department has undertaken to reduce reoffending”.

How has it worked?

  • number of released prisoners being re-imprisoned within two years has increased, from 34.0 per cent when the system started in 2000-01 to 38.8 per cent in the year to June
  • has failed to move the two-year reconviction rate of released prisoners from 55.1% (now at 55.4%) – the rate when the system started.

So why has it failed.  Well Greg Newbold, who has been a prisoner, says why:

“It’s another wreck on the scrapheap of abandoned fads of criminal rehabilitation,” he said.

“They predicted up to a 25 per cent reduction in annual inmate intakes.”

But Dr Newbold, who served seven and a half years in Paremoremo Prison in the 1970s, said he predicted in 2002 that the system would not work because most prisoners, unlike patients, did not want to be “cured”.

“They like the way they are. They want to give up going to jail. They don’t want to give up offending.”

Newbold says that the small minority of prisoners who want to change should be targeted and helped, but that such measures are ineffective for many prisoners.

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