Reintegration of offenders back into the community

Reintegration puzzle

The puzzle of what works in the reintegration of prisoners back into the community is a major issue facing a number of jurisdictions. A small study of 26 prisoners released from New South Wales Prison by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre showed that a third spent their first night after release sleeping rough. The rest were housed in short-term crisis accommodation on the first night out. While this may be a selective sample, it does raise one of the challenges of reintegration: it is well known that being homeless and offending are linked.

I was therefore pleased to attend the Reintegration Puzzle conference in Auckland earlier this month which was run by Deakin University, Melbourne. This annual conference provides an opportunity to hear the latest information concerning programmes and services which assist people to successfully reintegrate after prison. The theme of this year’s conference focussed on the role of community organisations in supporting individuals and families during imprisonment and after release.

I was also privileged to be asked to run a pre-conference workshop on new and innovative approaches to motivating those who offend to get their life back on track. As many of you will know this is a particular area of interest to me. There are many points where motivation is most helpful: compliance with transitional conditions, learning to manage risk behaviour, engaging and maintaining involvement with interventions, re-engaging with the community, as well as re-engaging with whanau/family. All of these areas are important for sustaining long-term desistance to re-offending.

At the conference a new website with links to issues related to reintegration of prisoners back into the community was launched. This also has the papers from the recent Reintegration Puzzle conference in Auckland. Check it out.

Published on Wednesday, September 25th, 2013, under Offender work

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