Two months ago, NSW Attorney General Greg Smith promised to keep 14 high risk violent offenders behind bars beyond their sentences. Today, The Daily Telegraph revealed that half of them have already been released.
Announcements like this may grab headlines (and did) and evoke emphatic nods from the public, but locking away inmates indefinitely is not based on any sense. Just speak to anyone who spends their days and nights helping a sex offender find a place to live and a job.
Longer sentences are a proven vote winner, but they do not address the key issue of what to do with ex-prisoners. If Corrective Services NSW and similar departments in other states were really interested in reducing re-offending, they would spend more time and resources on rehabilitation and reintegration policies.
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Rehabilitation works. Just ask Sally*, who first injected heroin at the of 15.
By 19, she was injecting four times a day and was working as a prostitute to pay for her habit. This continued until she met a social worker who referred her to a drug rehabilitation clinic.
After a tough battle with a few setbacks, Sally is able to live without heroin, and is now completing her second year of a law degree. And this is all thanks to rehabilitation.
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