26 September 2023

Remote jail offenders win access to video

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Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) has accelerated the rollout of a pioneering video conferencing platform to provide vital rehabilitation programs to offenders in remote and regional communities.

Senior Project Officer at CSNSW, Natalie Talbot said the technology allowed offenders to participate virtually in psychological or group behavioural change programs.

Ms Talbot said the mass roll-out followed a successful trial in the State’s Central West and other regional areas.

“The platform targeted priority offenders to ensure they had early access to programs to reduce the risk of reoffending,” Ms Talbot said.

“Offenders are at their highest risk of reoffending in the first six to eight weeks after leaving prison so it’s important we introduce programs at a time they’re most willing to engage,” she said.

“Since the rollout, we’ve seen a significant uptick in the number of locations engaging offenders and completions in online programs across the State.”

Ms Talbot said the technology trial found that offenders with high-level anxiety preferred the virtual programs as they were less intimidating.

“Others like it because there’s no risk of someone gossiping around town, some parents can access programs more easily from home after hours,” the Senior Project Officer said.

She said programs on offer for offenders included Domestic and Family Violence, Foundations, an extra support program to help prevent people from reoffending with a focus on behavioural change and maintenance.

Ms Talbot said the technology was now online at more than 40 metropolitan and regional Community Corrections centres.

Assistant Commissioner, Community Corrections at CSNSW, Sandra Crawford said both the community and offenders benefited from the success of the roll-out, due to a winning combination of technology and talent.

“Community Corrections officers have an intricate understanding of the technology, a focus on better outcomes and an incredible ability to guide people back onto the right path and into a safer, more positive future,” Ms Crawford said.

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