Media Release: Intensive Correction Orders and Re-offending


Full report - The impact of intensive correction Orders and re-offending (pdf, 2.3Mb)

Release date: Friday, 2 May 2014

Offenders placed on Intensive Correction Orders (ICOs) [ 1] have lower rates of re-offending than offenders given a sentence of periodic detention, according to a new report released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

The Bureau says, however, that this may not necessarily be an indication that ICOs are more effective than periodic detention in reducing re-offending.

The Bureau compared re-offending among offenders given an ICO to re-offending among a sample of offenders who received a sentences of periodic detention (before the advent of ICOs) or who were placed on supervised suspended sentences (after the introduction of ICOs).

For each comparison, offenders were carefully matched on a large range of factors, including gender, Indigenous status, age, remoteness and socio-economic index of the area of residence, plea, offence type(s), offence severity and criminal history.

For the comparison of those who received ICOs with those who received supervised suspended sentences, offenders were also matched on a range of additional factors.

The analysis revealed that an offender on an ICO had 33 per cent less risk of re-offending than an offender on periodic detention but no difference in re-offending was found between offenders given ICOs and offenders given supervised suspended sentences.

According to the Director of the Bureau, Dr Don Weatherburn, the lack of any difference in re-offending between offenders givens ICOs and supervised suspended sentences raises doubts about whether ICOs really are more effective than periodic detention.

'The problem in essence is that we were able to match offenders given ICOs and offenders given supervised suspended sentences on a number of important factors (e.g., drug use) that could not be used when matching offenders given ICOs with offenders given periodic detention.'

'Had we been able to measure and control for these factors when comparing offenders on ICOs and offenders on periodic detention, the difference in re-offending between these two groups may have disappeared.'

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 02-9231-9190

Copies of the report:


[1] ICOs replaced periodic detention in 2010 and were designed to address some of the shortcomings of periodic detention, such as the fact that periodic detention was not available throughout the State and that periodic detention detainees were not effectively case managed or rehabilitated.