A prison sentence is not enough to break the cycle of reoffending if the underlying issues that contribute to it are not addressed. For this reason, the complex process of successfully rehabilitating offenders extends beyond the criminal justice system. Factors such as social disadvantage, unemployment, homelessness, and health and wellbeing also influence a prisoner’s ability to reintegrate into the community.
Rehabilitating and reintegrating prisoners is a core principle of the criminal justice system and a strategic priority for Corrections Victoria (CV), a business unit of the Corrections and Justice Services (CJS) group at the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS).
Ravenhall Correctional Centre (Ravenhall) is Victoria’s newest prison. Privately operated by the GEO Group Australia Pty Ltd (GEO), it was designed to trial new rehabilitation methods that focus on reducing reoffending. To strengthen the prison’s focus on rehabilitation, the state included financially incentivised key performance indicators (KPI) linked to reintegration and recidivism targets in GEO’s contract. This includes KPI 15, which measures reintegration outcomes and KPI 16, which measures rates of reoffending. Among Victorian prisons, performance payments for reintegration and reoffending outcomes are unique to Ravenhall.
Running prisons is a considerable expense for the state and costs are rising. Between December 2012 and December 2019, Victoria’s prison population grew by 58 per cent. More offenders are also returning to prison after their release.
This audit examines if Corrections Victoria and GEO Group have developed best practice prisoner management at Ravenhall to rehabilitate offenders and reduce recidivism. It also assesses if there are effective performance and evaluation frameworks in place to measure these outcomes.