The State Government has made a conscious decision to invest in the future of Corrections in Tasmania to ensure that our community is as safe as possible. It has provided additional funding, including operational funding for new prison facilities to build on the already strong foundations in place.
Corrections is assisted by the excellent work undertaken by a broad range of government agencies and non-government partners who are enthusiastic and committed contributors to the support and development of people who find themselves in contact with the corrections system. We must continue to work on these relationships in a way that adds to our strategic agenda.
I was pleased when the former government commissioned the development of a long-term vision for Corrections. The Breaking the Cycle strategic plan and the articulation of a well-researched, considered, clear and achievable vision founded on broad community participation was a major step in the right direction.
While continuing to support the goals of Breaking the Cycle, we also need to increase our focus over the coming years on assisting the effective and smooth transition of people from their first contact with Corrections to successful reintegration into the community.
I want to ensure we have appropriate interventions for young adults in the 18-25 year age group to create opportunities to interrupt the cycle of offending and reoffending in our young people before it is too late.
I also want to ensure we pursue initiatives that will provide support to the families of those people in the corrections system with the aim of trying to break the intergenerational link to criminal offending. There is already some excellent work occurring in this area through the commitment and dedication of staff and a number of our non-government partners but I believe more can be achieved. Programs and initiatives to support families, involving families in plans for release and helping those people returning to the community maintain or restore relationships where this is appropriate, should be central to reintegration.
The government has announced a significant investment to reduce family violence in Tasmania and has made commitments in relation to progressively phasing out suspended sentences, introducing alternative sentencing options and introducing compulsory treatment for sex offenders in prison. We will need to work closely with our partners to ensure appropriate sentencing options and interventions are in place.
The rehabilitation of those in our corrections system is also a whole of community responsibility and Corrections recognises the need to increase its engagement with the Tasmanian public. We know the drivers of crime include lack of employment and employment skills, lack of education, homelessness or addiction issues among others. We can enhance public safety and reduce reoffending by addressing these risk factors and other needs that bring people to our attention in the first place.
I believe the goals and strategies outlined in this document will help us to ensure our community is safer. By enhancing throughcare we can help many Tasmanians get their lives back on track through appropriate support and interventions and we can reduce the number of future victims of crime.
This document was prepared with the assistance of a number of stakeholders and I would particularly like to thank the Throughcare Reference Group. Following a forum held in November 2015, over 20 non-government organisations and representatives from the Department of Justice, Tasmania Prison Service and Community Corrections volunteered to be part of the Reference Group. The throughcare approach was widely supported by the stakeholders consulted. In addition to the strategies contained in this document, many other ideas have been captured during the consultation process that fit within our higher level goals.
Dr Vanessa Goodwin MLC
Minister for Corrections