Research Papers

Making Community Corrections Work

Written by
14 May 2018
Making Community Corrections Work

This paper draws on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Productivity Commission,
and a range of studies conducted into the effectiveness of community corrections. It finds that:

  • Community corrections is growing rapidly. The national community corrections population has
    grown by 18.6 percent in the last two years, and 30.2 percent since 2007. (Figure 1, Table 2)
  • The community corrections rate rose from 329 per 100,00 adults in September 2007 to 361
    per 100,000 adults in September 2017. (Figure 3)
  • The fastest growth has been seen in the use of parole orders post-incarceration, suggesting
    that community corrections is operating in combination with incarceration and not always as a
    replacement for prison time. (Table 2)
  • Over the past ten years, the proportion of the community corrections population whose most
    serious offence was an act intended to cause injury has risen. In 2016-17, more than 42,000
    offenders whose most serious offence was a violent offence were given a principal sentence in
    community corrections. (Figures 4 and 5)
  • Across the country, courts are increasingly using community corrections as the principal
    punishment for violent offenders. This growth, however, has mostly come from community
    corrections replacing monetary orders. (Figure 6)
  • In 2016-17, nationwide spending on community corrections was $589 million. This was less
    than $22 per offender per day, about 10 percent of the cost of prison. (Section 4-1)
  • There is emerging evidence that community corrections is more effective than prison in
    reducing reoffending, even where all relevant aspects of the different populations are
    controlled for. (Section 4-2)
  • Completion rates vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction with no clear correlation to per offender
    spending or the ratio of staff numbers to offender numbers. (Figures 11 and 12)
  • Nationally, offenders only served about half the community service hours to which they were
    sentenced, indicating an under-supply of community service work opportunities. (Table 4)

Click here to download the full report.

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