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Community no better off, despite more prisoners: Ombudsman

Community no better off, despite more prisoners: Ombudsman

By Karin Derkley

Sentencing 


Victoria has more prisoners at greater expense, no drop in crime or recidivism and the community feels less safe, says lawyer Tania Wolff commenting on a new Ombudsman's report. Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass's report reflects on recommendations she made over the past three years, including initiatives around the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners. It was good to see investment into health and drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and the expansion of therapeutic justice, Ms Glass (pictured above) said. However, since a 2015 report the prison population had grown by 20 per cent, and those on remand had increased from 24 per cent in 2015 to more than a third today. Ms Glass asked why the number of women prisoners is growing so rapidly, "when so many are the victims of crime or abuse themselves?" And why were so many on remand, when so few have been charged with violent offences? Particularly concerning was the government's failure to stop strip searching women prisoners - the only recommendation out of 125 made in the original Ombudsman's report on prisoners that was not accepted. Despite increased incarceration rates, recidivism rates had not improved. It remained at 44 per cent, up from 33.7 per cent in 2010.

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