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Measuring community views about the reintegration of offenders: Victorian data Lesley Hardcastle, Terry Bartholomew, Joe Graffam The Centre for Offender.

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Presentation on theme: "Measuring community views about the reintegration of offenders: Victorian data Lesley Hardcastle, Terry Bartholomew, Joe Graffam The Centre for Offender."— Presentation transcript:

1 Measuring community views about the reintegration of offenders: Victorian data Lesley Hardcastle, Terry Bartholomew, Joe Graffam The Centre for Offender Reintegration @ Deakin

2 Outline  Background  Rehabilitation v reintegration  Our study  Some trends and implications

3 Background  30 June 2005 – 30 June 2009: 17.8% increase in incarceration rates (males 18.4%, females 9.7%)  27.7% of male prisoners have sentences of < 12 months (42.5% of females)  46.6% sentences of 1 yr – <5 yrs (females 40.5%)  50% all prisoners prior adult imprisonment  33.9% released 2006 – 7 had returned within 2 yrs (42.5% in 1999-2000)  14.1% discharged from CC orders in 2006 – 7 had returned within 2 yrs (ABS 2009)

4 Net expenditure (Vic 2008-9) Prisoner $242.65 per day (>$88,500 per annum) Community Corrections $18.65 per day

5 Correlates of recidivsm  Reoffending peaks in mid – late adolescence (17-21 yrs)  Gender (mixed results) but females are at less risk  The younger they start, the more likely to be recidivist  Robbery and property crimes markers of increased risk  Lifestyle, drug use, unemployment, low education, poor accommodation, mental health, family instability  Post release difficulties (including lack of social support and health services)

6 “They all come back” (Travis, 1995) “Most of them come back to community and then go back to prison”

7 Sentencing objectives  Punishment and incapacitation  Deterrence and rehabilitation  Reintegration?

8 Rehabilitation and Reintegration Psychological Psychosocial Rehabilitation Offender focused, offender deficit, criminogenic needs ‘What works’ debate ‘Nothing works’ to ‘what works for whom and why?’

9 Reintegration as a goal of sentencing Reintegration per se is not included as a goal of sentencing for adult offenders in any Australian jurisdiction. Rehabilitation is mentioned as a goal of sentencing for adult offenders in 6 of the 8 Australian jurisdictions, (ACT, NSW, NT, Q’ld, SA, Vic)

10 Reintegration A process facilitating the transition from offender to law-abiding citizen  A reinstatement of what went before?  Were they integrated in the first place?  Programs that focus on broader issues than just reoffending? (e.g., transition, self esteem, family support, employment, accommodation, access to health and other services)

11 Common understandings Examples:  promoting social responsibility and ensuring that the young offender develops in a socially responsible way  the need to strengthen, preserve and/or maintain family ties  importance of allowing the juvenile offender to continue educational and/or vocational training uninterrupted  the importance of preserving the racial, ethnic and cultural identity of the juvenile offender  the importance of minimising stigma  the need to maintain community ties/involvement.

12 Rehabilitation /Reintegration  rehabilitation as vocational and educational courses, and employment  rehabilitation assisted by family  rehabilitation achieved through performing unpaid community work  rehabilitation that is facilitated by unsupervised community-based sentences.

13 Law / policy / theory / programs make reference to the importance of reintegrative ideas, but little attention is given to the gatekeepers of these reintegrative opportunities – the community

14 Attitude studies Public holds inaccurate and negative views of sentencing  Underestimates lengths of sentences  Over estimates crime rates  Stereotyping (offence, offender) BUT, when given more information  Favours rehabilitation and community-based sentences for juveniles, first time offenders (Hough & Roberts, 1998; Hough & Park, 2002; Mirrless-Black, 2001; Paulin, Searle, & Knaggs, 2003; Roberts & Stalans, 1997; Roberts, Stalans, Hough, & Indermaur, 2003)

15 Public opinion and policy How the public thinks creates barriers and opportunities regarding what policies might be implemented “An optimistic view about offenders and their treatment will create ideological space for policy initiatives that are more progressive and rehabilitation-oriented.” (Piquero et al., 2010)

16 Our Study Aims to identify:  Levels of community support for specific aspects of reintegration  Community groups with positive/negative views re reintegration  Offence and offender sub-groups that the community are least / most accepting of  Reintegrative policies the community are most likely to support  The predictors of community views about reintegration.

17 Factors of interest Respondent factors:  Personal characteristics – age, gender, parent, education, income  Experience – victim, know an offender  Knowledge (of criminal justice system) Views about employment of offenders  Proximity (working with)  Policy (gov’t support for) Views about housing of offenders  Proximity (working with)  Policy (gov’t support for) Effects of offence, correctional history, characteristics of offender

18 Method  Questionnaire mailed to 15,000 randomly selected Victorian households  Voluntary, anonymous, reply paid return  Sample size 2,629 (return rate almost 20%)  Sample representative of Vic pop’n — age, sex, income  Significant interest in follow-up study

19 What does the community think are the goals of sentencing?

20 Goals of sentencing Make community safer69% Punish offenders56% Deter other52% Deter offender43% Provide a measure of seriousness40% Rehabilitate offenders34% Help offenders lead productive lives28% Percentage chosen as priority 1

21 Success of sentencing goals Make community safer3.0 Punish offenders3.0 Help offenders lead productive lives3.0 Rehabilitate offenders3.0 Provide a measure of seriousness2.9 Deter offender2.7 Deter others2.6 1= not at all successful –– 7 = very successful

22 The policy / proximity divide Not in my backyard ( NIMBY, Martin & Myers, 2005) Doctrine of “less eligibility”

23 People supported domains in this order: 1.Employment policy (most support – 5 out of 7) 2.Housing policy (4 out of 7) 3.Employment proximity (3 out of 7) 4.Housing proximity (least support 2 / 7) This order is regardless of what other information they have about the offender, the offence or their correctional history.

24 Proximity v Policy

25 Abstract v. concrete Does additional information make a difference?  Offence  Corrections history  Offender personal characteristics?

26 Offences  Across all domains the offending groups regarded as least eligible for reintegrative opportunities were all three listed ‘types’ of sex offenders  Sex offenders seen as less ‘eligible’ than murderers and drug dealers  Most support for fraud, embezzlement, corporate crime

27 Corrections history In order of most to least support  offence-related rehabilitation  education / training programs  single crime  community sentence  prison and community sentence (parole)  prison sentence only  multiple crimes

28 Offender personal characteristics In order of most to least support  remorseful  motivated to desist  parent  aged 17 or under  female  male  minority culturral group  aged 41 or over  aged 31-40  aged 18-30

29 Support for housing

30 Support for employment

31 Offence related (housing proximity)  Would not trust them ever  I would feel threatened and unsafe  White collar criminals do not pose a threat to me, nor does a person 'caught' with grass  No tolerance for child related offences  We should have penal system not a justice system  Perhaps they should live next to judges, MPs, people who defend them in court or police officers  Depends on the circumstances of the crime  I would not be aware that the person had a record

32 Corrections history (housing proximity)  Wouldn’t feel safe don’t believe people really change at their core  Whether the way the sentence was served has any effect on future behaviour seems to be a matter of luck rather than anything else …  The offence would matter more  Serious offenders will offend again if not punished enough  It depends on the effectiveness of the program  Offenders who are multiple criminals are of more concern that a single offender. Kind of sentence is of little relevance.  Only if they can prove to me they have changed for the better  I think that the longer the prison sentence, the more dangerous the person  Everybody should be allowed one mistake

33 Personal characteristics of offender (housing proximity)  Young offenders are worse to live around because they will keep re- offending. They know nothing much will happen to them in court.  Who knows if they are 'motivated' not to reoffend?  The "class" of crime is more important than the age of the offender.  If an immigrant or refugee – deport them back to wherever they came from – no second chances!  I don't think age is relevant; the concern for me is based on the nature of the crime and the risk of reoffending  Age would be a major consideration. I would be more tolerant of both youthful and older offenders (over 50)

34 Comments related to policy Offender reintegration requires government support for employment and housing. How does the public feel about such support if they see it as preferencing those who have committed crimes?

35 Comments related to policy  Why? Nobody has helped me or mine! We work, we pay out taxes, we are good citizens – criminals wreck the world!  Why should they get help when there are plenty of honest people who can’t get housing?  These people should help themselves  Depends on priority – I don’t believe a criminal should get housing if it means non-criminals miss out on support  These services should be part of the rehabilitation process

36 “Doctrine of less eligibility” The public does not want people who have committed crimes to be treated better that the most disadvantaged in society.

37 Other findings...  Youthful offenders seen as more eligible  Respondents aged 18-30 much more accepting in general than other age groups  Men more accepting than women  Victims of crime less accepting (particularly re employment factors)  Higher levels of education more supportive of gov’t support

38 The plan To identify:  eligibility cut-offs  predictors of these (and the rationales)  attitudinal obstacles that services face  reintegrative opportunities Use the qualitative data to build theory around these processes Replication of study in NSW

39 “Ex-offenders can re-integrate themselves and communities can re-integrate ex- offenders. But the most the state can do is to help or hinder the process. Reintegration happens “out there”, when the professionals go home“ (Maruna, 2006).

40 40 Offender factors Labour market Global, national events Views about ‘eligibility’ Respondentcharacteristics Community attitudes & values Offence factors

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