Correctional Services event in Murray Bridge

PAW PATROL: Mobilong Prison General Manager Sandra Russell, Springer Spaniel Roley, and dog handler Aaron London at the Murray Bridge Town Hall event.

PAW PATROL: Mobilong Prison General Manager Sandra Russell, Springer Spaniel Roley, and dog handler Aaron London at the Murray Bridge Town Hall event.

Key stakeholders gathered at the Murray Bridge Town Hall yesterday in an effort to find a community-approach to reducing re-offending by ex-prisoners.

This is also a chance for us to show people the range of work we do inside our prisons and show the public what rehabilitation looks like from the inside. - Sandra Russell

Currently, the state’s re-offending rate sites at 46 per cent, and Minister for Correctional Services Peter Malinauskas said it was no secret that the prison system is almost full.

“What is most alarming, is that 46 per cent of all sentenced prisoners return to South Australian correctional services within two years of release,” he said.

Of the current prison population in SA, 73 per cent have been in prison previously.

The event was also created to identify opportunities for expanding industries and prisoner and offender’s employment opportunities in the local area.

Mobilong Prison’s General Manager Sandra Russell said it was an opportunity for the state’s corrections department to showcase themselves and build relationships.

“We’re promoting the state government’s plan to reducing re-offending by 10 per cent by 2020,” she said.

“This is also a chance for us to show people the range of work we do inside our prisons and show the public what rehabilitation looks like from the inside.”

She said the department is aware that ex-prisoners would not be successful in rehabilitating themselves without links from prison to the outside world.

“We are asking the community how we can work together on this,” she said.

“Prisons and prisoners can help local businesses and the prisoners gain important skills in return before they return to their communities.”

Through their work on the inside, Ms Russell said the prisoners learnt invaluable life skills.

“They (the prisoners) get up and go to work everyday, which gives them purpose and routine,” she said.

“We don’t want the prisons to be isolated or removed from the rest of society.”

Nyunggai Warren Stephen Mundine AO was named chair of the strategic policy panel behind the Reducing Re-offending campaign.

“We will provide evidence based practice to support a three-year strategic reform plan that promotes offender rehabilitation,” Mr Mundine said.

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