Prisoner traineeships reduce reoffending

Release Date: 10:30am Tuesday 1 June 2021

Link to report summary:-

New research by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) shows that prisoners who participate in a traineeship program are significantly less likely to reoffend upon release.

Most prisoners have limited formal education, vocational training or previous work experience when entering custody.  To improve their prospects of finding work post-release, Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) offers eligible prisoners the opportunity to complete a 12-month traineeship while in custody.  Inmates who complete the program can receive a formal qualification in industries such as business administration, construction, transport and logistics and food processing.

A new BOCSAR study compared reoffending among 1,000 trainees who participated in the CSNSW program with 34,000 ex-inmates who were eligible but did not participate. An extensive range of control variables were included to account for any pre-existing differences between the two groups.

The study found significantly lower rates of reoffending among trainees. In the year following their release from prison, trainees were 16% less likely to be convicted of a personal, property or serious drug offence than similar prisoners in the comparison group.  Positive results were also seen for Aboriginal trainees who were 18% less likely to be convicted of a personal, property or serious drug offence than similar Aboriginal prisoners who did not participate.

The largest reoffending reductions were observed among trainees who were aged over 40 years (a 29% reduction in personal, property or serious drug offending) and those living in metro areas (a 24% reduction in personal, property or serious drug offending). High-risk offenders also appeared to benefit more than low-risk offenders.

Commenting on the findings, the Executive Director of the Bureau, Jackie Fitzgerald said that the results are very encouraging.

“The study suggests focussing on improving the post-release employment prospects of prisoners can reduce re-offending, even among high risk offenders.”

Further enquiries: Jackie Fitzgerald, Executive Director, BOCSAR  0423 139 687
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