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Strategies for SA prison overhaul released

AAP logoAAP 8/12/2016 Marnie Banger

An overhaul of South Australia's prison system should include more support for prisoners transitioning back into the community, a policy panel has found.

Correctional Services Minister Peter Malinauskas has received a report from the group tasked with providing advice on transforming the system containing 36 recommendations.

Among them is case management for every prisoner, from when they enter prison to six months after their release, to reduce their risk of reoffending.

At the moment, 46 per cent of people who leave SA prisons return within two years and in October 74 per cent of prisoners had been behind bars before.

The panel has also suggested making it easier for released prisoners to find work, perhaps with help from a specialist job network provider or business partners or by expanding prison industries.

Mr Malinauskas says the panel took a "no holds barred" approach and its recommendations would shape the biggest overhaul of SA corrections to date.

He says the state government, which wants to reduce reoffending by 10 per cent by 2020, will consider the advice and respond by the middle of next year.

Panel chair Warren Mundine says the strategy was based on consultation with people in the community, businesses, organisations and prisoners themselves.

"We sought to create a response to this challenge that was evidence-based and considered the entire journey of an offender," he said in a statement.

He said the group heavily considered the over representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who make up one in four SA prisoners.

Seven of the 36 recommendations involve targeted and culturally appropriate services and programs for people of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.

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