A new Offender Management Plan will be trialled in Ceduna to help reintegrate prisoners back into the community.
Senior police and regional managers from key government agencies met in Ceduna this week to discuss the introduction of the trial.
The plan, first introduced in South Australia in 2010, is a case management system to reintegrate serious adult offenders safely into the community after their release from prison.
The plan is being trialled in the Limestone Coast area, Port Adelaide and Christies Beach, with Ceduna taking an interest in the safety benefits the plan could provide the community.
Offender Management Plan project manager Detective Chief Inspector Selena Dinning said the plan was a multi-agency government initiative led by South Australia Police to manage risks posed by violent and prolific adult offenders on their release from custody.
“Our priority is to improve community safety by reducing the incidence of serious crime committed by offenders on their release, boosting victim protection and improving rehabilitation of offenders,” she said.
“Offenders are identified and asked to commit to the OMP prior to their release, so their re-entry to the local community is managed and monitored right from the first day of release.”
She said the plan targeted two types of offenders.
“The OMP targets priority offenders and prolific offenders – priority offenders are serious, violent and/or sex offenders who present the most risk to the community, and prolific offenders are criminals who commit volume of crime, which usually involves stolen property,” she said.
“When these offenders have been accepted on to the OMP, assistance is also available for drug, alcohol and mental health issues, housing, employment and educational training, to give them every opportunity to address their issues and not re-offend.
“The safety of the local community is always put first and if these offenders do not take the opportunity to reform, our stringent monitoring ensures any criminal behaviour will be dealt with by the appropriate law enforcement response.”
Ceduna senior sergeant Michael Ball said the program was about trying to remove the reasons for offending.
“The program is about dealing with people who commit volume crime,” he said.
“It is not about bringing other offenders to Ceduna, but identifying those people in the local community and assisting them for drug or alcohol counselling, or perhaps mental health counselling, helping them with housing and employment.
“It is about giving them pathways and support to remove the barriers which force them into offending.”
He said the program would include having a dedicated officer spending time with those offenders and called it “a different way of looking at reducing prolific offending”.
Sergeant Ball said the trial was a SAPOL initiative which would partner with a number of different government agencies including Housing SA, SA Health and the Department of Correctional Services, but the final list was still to be determined.
He said the timeframe for introducing the trial was unclear.