Intensive Correction Orders reduce re-offending

Full report: Intensive correction orders versus short prison sentence: A comparison of re-offending (pdf 507Kb)

Release date: 6.00am 12 October 2017

A new sentencing order that combines intensive supervision with treatment designed to address the underlying causes of offending behaviour has been found to produce a big reduction in re-offending.

Intensive Correction Orders (ICOs) were introduced in 2010 as an alternative to imprisonment where the sentence is two years or less.

ICOs have three mandatory conditions with which an offender must comply;

  • Completion of a minimum of 32 hours of work supervised by CSNSW,
  • Participation in rehabilitation programs
  • Drug and alcohol testing

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) compared rates of reconviction among 1,266 offenders given an ICO and 10,660 offenders given a short (less than two year) prison sentence.

The two groups of offenders were matched on a wide range of factors, including age, gender, race, offence, prior criminal record and prior penalties. 

BOCSAR found an 11%-31% reduction in the odds of re-offending for an offender who received an ICO compared with an offender who received a prison sentence of up to 24 months.

Even larger reductions in reoffending are observed when the prison group is restricted to offenders serving a fixed prison term of 6 months or less; that is, those who receive no supervision or treatment post release.

In this case the odds of reoffending among those receiving an ICO are between 25 and 43 per cent lower for offenders across all risk categories and between 33 and 35 per cent lower among offenders in the medium to high risk categories.

Commenting on the findings, the Executive Director of BOCSAR, Dr Don Weatherburn, said they showed that ICOs are a cost-effective alternative to prison  for offenders who would otherwise be sent to prison for short periods of time.

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn, 8346 1100

Copies of the report: