Premier of Tasmania – Strong investment to increase rehabilitation options for offenders | #itsecurity | #infosec

6 June 2022

Elise Archer,

Minister for Corrections and Rehabilitation

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

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

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

This investment will support an expanded literacy program delivery model at the Tasmania Prison Service (TPS) that provides greater access across all custodial facilities and includes assessment of individual literacy needs, along with delivery of programs to target those specific needs.

The current literacy programs are already delivering results, with the number of Risdon Library annual withdrawals increasing significantly over the past four years from 6435 in 2018-19 to 8775 between 1 July 2021 and 31 March 2022, but with our strong focus on rehabilitation we know this needs to improve further.

The TPS’s existing partnership with Libraries Tasmania delivers learning, information and literacy support to prisoners, with Libraries Tasmania staff and a Literacy Co-ordinator based within the prison education and library areas.

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.

Additionally, 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 letters/course assessments, do off-line research, contact services within the prison, and access a wide range of educational and recreational activities and resources.

Pleasingly, a multi-agency IT working group has worked to expand, improve and upgrade the Prisoner Computer Network and the computer fleet, extending it at the Mary Hutchinson Women’s Prison with four new computers in a centralised computer lab, as well as computers being installed in the minimum-security Vanessa Goodwin Cottages.

The Ron Barwick Prison, minimum-security O’Hara Units have also recently been equipped with a computer in each cottage.

This year the Prison Education Computer network will also provide increased access to legal resources with provision of a Legal Resource Centre hosted on the network.

This is being implemented as part of the Southern Remand Centre opening but will service all inmates, across all sites, as well as those housed at the Southern Remand Centre.

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

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