6 Jan 2016

Cutting reoffending proving difficult

6:48 pm on 6 January 2016

Progress on its goal of reducing reoffending by prisoners by 25 percent is slowing, the Corrections Department says.

Department of Corrections logo

Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

In 2012 the Corrections Department committed to reducing the rate of re-offending from the baseline of 30 percent to 22.6 percent, a 25 percent overall reduction, by June 2017.

In its Annual Report the department said it had made significant progress towards the target, dropping to 27.4 percent by February 2014, but since mid 2014 that figure had increased.

The department said the increase in the proportion of offenders with more entrenched and complex issues had made it more difficult to achieve the target.

The department said its Special Treatment Unit rehabilitation programme had shown extremely good levels of effectiveness, with a 17.1 percent reduction in reoffending rates.

However, other programmes' results were less positive: There was only a 5 percent reduction in reoffending rates by

those who undertook a 3 month drug treatment course, and 4.8 percent for those on a six month programme.

The department also noted that the figures were reached by comparing the outcome of matched individuals. So for instance in the case of judging the success of drug rehabilitation, it looked at the reoffending of a similar offender who did not undertake drug rehabilitation.

In response to the figures the department has introduced a programme called RR25% (Reduce Reoffending 25 percent) Boost.

It said part of this programme was aimed at increasing the number of prisoners taking part in rehabilitation programmes, including working closely with those who had applied, but did not meet admission requirements.

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