Our prisoner and offender management

The theory and reasoning behind our approaches to effective prisoner and offender management

Strategies to reduce and deal with offending

Adult offenders are assessed for their risk of re-offending and criminogenic needs upon admission to prison and/or upon entering into a community based order.

The factors that are evidenced to increase the risk of someone committing crime form the basis of the risk assessment tools adopted by the Department.  

Best-practice risk assessment tools will include an assessment of static risk factors and dynamic risk factors.

Static risk factors are those factors that do not change over time (e.g. age, time of first conviction etc) and, as a result, do not identify targets for intervention.

Dynamic risk factors are potentially changeable and, as such, provide targets for intervention. Dynamic risk factors are also referred to as criminogenic needs.

The Department utilises a number of risk assessment tools depending on the type of reoffending being considered.

DCS’ assessment methodologies are also consistent with the Risk, Needs, Responsivity model of Offender Rehabilitation (Andrews & Bonta, 1995).

This model provides a number of principles for effective intervention that should be assessed for prior to involvement in treatment programs to ensure appropriate targeting of resources.

Risk Principle

Match the level of service to the offender's risk to re-offend.

Need Principle

Assess factors that are most closely related to an offender’s risk of reoffending, and target them in treatment.

Responsivity Principle

Services must tailor the intervention to the learning style, motivation, abilities and strengths of the offender.

The assessment tools that are utilised by the Department identify those factors that may contribute to offending behaviour
Examples include:

  • alcohol and other drug use
  • poor anger management
  • dysfunctional thinking and reasoning skills.

Based on the results of risk and needs assessments, an individual case plan is developed for each prisoner or offender.

The Department adopts an Integrated Offender Management approach to this process.
The assessment is carried out by trained Departmental specialist staff.

Managing the supervision of offenders in the community

South Australian courts can release alleged offenders to Supervised Bail or Intensive Bail Supervision (court ordered Home Detention Bail), until their next court appearance, during which time they are under the supervision of a Community Corrections Officer who will assist them comply with their Bail conditions.

Upon sentencing, South Australian courts can sentence adult offenders to undertake community based sanctions or orders including:

  • Home Detention
  • Suspended Sentence Bonds
  • Supervised Bonds
  • Community Service (Repay SA)

During the period of their community based sentence, offenders are supervised by the department through case management services provided by Community Correctional Centres. The department also provides community based supervision for offenders on Parole, post-prison Home Detention Release Orders and Licences.

The department manages a number of Community Correctional Centres and other outreach services which are located across the State.

Enhanced Community Corrections

The department’s Enhanced Community Corrections provides risk based offender management with resources focused on offenders who represent the greatest risk to the community – the higher the risk, the more intensive supervision, monitoring, programs and case management provided.

This approach strengthens the department’s capacity to effectively and rigorously manage adult offenders in the community with a focus on public safety, public confidence, offender responsibility, and the rights of victims.

Managing offenders in prison

Each prison in the State offers a unique function within the correctional system – and are committed to keeping prisoners, staff and the community safe.

Over recent years infrastructure changes have been implemented to enhance prison security, access control, and to ensure safety measures are updated and reviewed in response to evolving criminal activities.

A prisoner’s ability to progress through the correctional system is managed through an individualised case management system.

Once an offender re-enters the community but remains under the department’s supervision via the enforcement of a community based order – such as Parole or post-prison Home Detention release Order – supervision is managed in accordance with the department’s evidence-based practice of Enhanced Community Corrections.