Tasmanian Premier: Heavy investment to increase rehabilitation options for offenders

June 6, 2022

Elise Archer, Minister of Corrections and Rehabilitation

The 2022-23 state budget is strengthening Tasmania’s future with key investments in our prison system that will help keep our communities and staff safe, while giving offenders more opportunities for rehabilitation.

We want to ensure that anyone serving a custodial sentence has the tools they need to successfully rehabilitate and reintegrate into the community, and we are investing to ensure that happens.

The budget includes an additional $500,000 for new literacy programs that will help offenders improve their functional literacy and provide a strong foundation for increased employment opportunities upon release.

This investment will support an expanded model of literacy program delivery in the Tasmanian Prison Service (TPS) that provides increased access across custody facilities and includes assessment of individual literacy needs, along with program delivery for address those specific needs.

Current literacy programs are already showing results, with the number of annual Risdon Library withdrawals increasing significantly over the last four years from 6,435 in 2018-19 to 8,775 between July 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022, but with our strong focus on rehabilitation we know this needs to improve further.

TPS’s existing partnership with Libraries Tasmania provides learning, information and literacy support to inmates, with Libraries Tasmania staff and a literacy coordinator based in the education and library areas of the prison.

This year, Libraries Tasmania is also piloting the use of tablets for literacy work, as well as looking at ways to improve digital literacy opportunities for inmates.

In addition, the prison education computer network allows inmates to access a number of applications, digital tools and resources within the prison. Inmates can also write and print course letters/evaluations, conduct research offline, communicate with services within the prison, and access a wide range of educational and recreational activities and resources.

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Fortunately, a multi-agency IT task force has worked to expand, improve, and upgrade the prisoner computer network and computer fleet, expanding it at Mary Hutchinson Women’s Prison with four new computers in a centralized computer lab, as well like the computers being installed. in the Vanessa Goodwin minimum security cabins.

Ron Barwick Prison’s minimum security O’Hara Units have also been recently equipped with a computer in each cabin.

This year, the prison education computer network will also provide increased access to legal resources with the provision of a web-based Legal Resource Center.

This is being implemented as part of the South Pretrial Detention Facility opening, but will serve all inmates, across all sites, as well as those housed in the South Pretrial Detention Facility.

Rehabilitation remains a key priority, and I look forward to seeing the new and expanded programs that our additional funding will provide.

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