Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Recidivism Rates in AOD Offenders

Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (12:15): My question is to the minister representing the Attorney-General. It is no secret that recidivist offenders of petty and serious crime often have drug and alcohol dependency. The state government has brought in initiatives such as the Drug Courts, and I note that this will be expanded upon the likely passage of the Drug Courts bill this week, but I may sound like a bit of a broken record when I recite Victoria’s recidivism rates, including 43 per cent of prisoners returning to prison within two years and 50 per cent returning within five years, as reported by the Productivity Commission last year. It is a revolving door. My question is: what other measures is the state government considering to reduce recidivism rates in alcohol and other drug dependent offenders?

Thank you, Minister, and my supplementary question is to the minister representing the Minister for Corrections. In the United States, the UK and other parts of the world controlling recidivism in predominantly alcohol-dependent offenders is led by the swift, certain and fair approach. This is where the reaction to illegal behaviour is swift, the punishment is certain, so it is known by the offender and is guaranteed, and it is fair, where the punishment is not punitive but is relative to the crime. Since 2005 South Dakota has been using a sobriety technique to target alcohol-dependent offenders, and many other states followed suit after seeing excellent results. This is just one example of the success of ‘swift, certain and fair’. The supplementary question is: has the government considered implementing swift, certain and fair techniques in our legal system to reduce recidivism in alcohol and other drug dependent offenders?


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