In July 2014 I announced that I was investigating rehabilitation and transitional services for prisoners in Victoria. I said at the time that this was prompted by the growth in prisoner numbers and concerns with rates of re-offending and the cost to the Victorian community.
During the 40 years since the Office of the Victorian Ombudsman was established, the welfare of those in closed environments, particularly those in the correctional setting, has been an ongoing concern. Numerous Ombudsman investigations have been conducted and reports tabled concerning such issues as conditions in custody, prisoner access to health care, and deaths and harm in custody, as well as human rights considerations for prisoners.
What has not been considered however is whether the corrections system in Victoria is adequately ensuring that a prisoner’s sentence appropriately addresses rehabilitation and post release support to prevent further offending, with its attendant cost and risk to the community.