Violent offender treatment program reduces reoffending

Full report: The effect of the Violent Offender Treatment Program (VOTP) on offender outcomes (pdf, 530Kb)

Release date: 10.30am, Monday 24 September, 2018


An intensive treatment program for violent prisoners delivered by Corrective Services NSW reduces the risk of reoffending according to a new report released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR).

The Violent Offender Treatment Program (VOTP) is a 12-month residential therapeutic program for high-risk male offenders who are serving more than 2 years in custody for a violent offence. It has been operating in NSW correctional centres in its current form since 2003.

To evaluate the program, BOCSAR compared a cohort of 216 prisoners who completed the VOTP program with a cohort of 321 prisoners who were referred to VOTP but did not start, while controlling for a range of factors influencing program entry and reoffending.

The results revealed that violent prisoners who started VOTP were 9 percentage points less likely to reoffend within 24 months of release from prison than those who were referred but were never treated.

Lower violent reoffending rates were also found but the effect was not statistically significant, possibly due to the small sample size. All outcomes examined in the study pointed in the direction of a reduction in reoffending.

Commenting on the findings, the Executive Director of the Bureau, Dr Don Weatherburn said that the results are very encouraging.

“The study has provided convincing evidence that a properly resourced and well-managed correctional program can reduce re-offending, even among violent offenders.”

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 8346 1100
Copies of the report: