Forty new jobs have been created at jails across the Central West, with more than half the positions being based in the Bathurst region.
Specialised case workers have been appointed as part of a plan to reduce recidivism, with Bathurst jail getting an addition seven case workers, three at Oberon Correctional Centre, five at Kirkconnell Correctional Centre and six at Lithgow.
Under the new case management model, rolled out on August 30, inmates with a risk of reoffending are being targeted with tailor-made plans while they are in custody, as well as support for their release.
Bathurst Correctional Centre governor Mark Kennedy said Corrective Services identified the need to do more work as inmates progressed from being in custody to being under community corrections.
“The new model looks at the individual’s needs and how best to reduce the likelihood of them re-offending,” he said.
“It’s a very specific approach. This is about tailoring high-quality case plans to specific needs of individual offenders.
Mr Kennedy said since the program was rolled out inmates have been more engaged. “Participation rates are increasing,” he said.
Sara Ruston, a senior case management officer at the Bathurst jail, saEagle-eyed guard thwarts attempted breakout at Bathurst jail | Photosid inmates often wanted to improve their prospects for rehabilitation, but often didn’t have the tools needed to achieve a better outcome.
“This program helps them meet those needs, addressing basic skills they need, like managing their finances,” she said.
Ms Ruston said she’s seeing inmates take ownership of their decisions, and vitally, also taking ownership of their rehabilitation.
Governor Kennedy said the custodial case management units were part of the much larger strategy.
“We’re all about being better neighbours to the community,” he said.
“We don’t want a situation where an inmate is leaving our custody in a worse position then when they started here.
“We are focused on the resources we have, and working with offenders in custody to make sure we provide better rehabilitation.”
Commissioner Peter Severin said NSW Corrective Services was committed to driving down the rate of recidivism.
“These newly created positions form part of a clear plan to address that,” Mr Severin said.
“The improved model provides a more consistent approach to case managing offenders throughout their contact with the correctional system,” he said.
“Particularly in cases where they cycle between community supervision and custody.”