Impacts of Defunding Tasmania’s Reintegration for Ex-Offenders Program

Ebba Herrlander1
1University Of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

Homelessness, and low socioeconomic status, are factors heavily influencing the rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-inmates, and the stress of unstable housing may lead to survival offending, and drug and alcohol dependency (Payne, Macgregor, & McDonald, 2015). Research show that inmates are less likely to own their own home, and more likely to rely on housing authorities, and public housing, and that inadequate accommodation is strongly associated with re-offending (Baldry, McDonnel, Maplestone, & Peeters, 2003; Baldry, 2010). The lack of housing for ex-inmates impacts their eligibility for early release, and parole, which further contributes to prison overcrowding and prison-related costs. This presentation will overview a research project focused on documenting the impact of defunding the Tasmanian accommodation and transitional support program ‘Reintegration for Ex-Offenders’ in 2015, run by the Salvation Army. The ‘Reintegration for Ex-Offenders’ program offered accommodation services, alongside a case plan tailored to individual needs, such as budgeting, education, and employment. It provided support for alcohol and drug dependency, mental health issues, and sought to increase participants’ self-esteem and establish a positive outlook on the future. The research project discussed in this presentation will conduct qualitative, semi-structured interviews with service providers associated and/or involved with the program. Given that an independent evaluation concluded a significantly reduced recidivism rate of 6.5%, compared to the usual rate of 46% (Lloyd, Stafford, & Gabriel, 2013), the research project aims to document the gaps and impacts of the program’s dissolution, to hopefully provide a platform of discussion for future policy implications.


Biography:
Ms Ebba Herrlander Birgerson is a Master of Police Studies student at the University of Tasmania, focusing on the reintegration and rehabilitation of ex-offenders. She has previously completed a Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University, Brisbane, and received a Griffith Award for Academic Excellence in 2015 which recognises consistent academic achievement with a GPA of 6.0 or greater, placing her in the top 5% of students. Whilst at Griffith University, she assisted Dr Danielle Reynald in her research project ‘Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in Australia: The Victim’s Perspective’. She has worked with the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies evaluating a Tasmanian Police project trialling electronic monitoring for high risk family violence offenders. She is currently working with Dr Angela Dwyer, Dr Bianca Fileborn, and Dr Matthew Ball on a project examining how LGBTIQ young people are involved in family violence, and on a project with Dr Nicole Asquith, Dr Angela Dwyer, and Dr Jeffrey Thomas, investigating how LGBTIQ young people come to be in flexi schools.

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