Australia – NSW Community Corrections Celebrates 70 Years

Community Corrections staff are reflecting on their ever-evolving profession and life-changing work as the branch celebrates 70 years today – 27th August, 2021

Community Corrections officers play the crucial role in reducing reoffending by engaging and educating people once they leave prison to help them adapt to a normal and lawful life.

Minister for Corrections Anthony Roberts said people on parole are subject to strict conditions around housing, movements, employment and other aspects of their life.

“The NSW government has committed $330 million to reducing reoffending and targeting high-risk and resistant offenders who are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime,” he said.

“Parole is built into a person’s sentence by the courts to ensure they have a period of incarceration followed by a period of living in the community with supervision.”

Manager of the Sydney City office Rick Pratley has been working in Community Corrections for 35 years. He said staff now have a more specialised role where they are better equipped to assess a person’s risk to the community and the likelihood of them reoffending.

“When I started in 1986 I received a street directory, a black suitcase and a dictaphone for taking notes in the field,” he said.

“Through the evolution of technology and data-based systems, we’re now much more effective in profiling offenders and making risk assessments which has been hugely effective in reducing reoffending.

“Programs such as the video-conferencing platform LiVit allows people to digitally participate in psychology services and group programs on dedicated laptops or computer booths.”

Corrective Services NSW Acting Commissioner Kevin Corcoran said reducing reoffending initiatives have included strengthening community-based sentences and improving parole supervision.

“We have a goal to reduce reoffending by five per cent by 2023 through an increase in offender programs and rehabilitation services and we’re working hard to achieve that,” he said.

Community Corrections 70th Anniversary celebrations will be marked with a virtual morning tea and the release of a celebration video on 26 August.