Media Statement by Liberals/Nationals Coalition

Media statement by Liberal/National Coalition Monday 7 March  2011


NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell and  Shadow Attorney General Greg Smith SC today announced a comprehensive plan to  crackdown on re-offending rates in NSW, including the establishment of a  second Drug Court in Sydney.

Mr O'Farrell explained the  NSW Liberals & Nationals ambitious plan has the goal of reducing the  re-offending rate to below the national average within ten  years. 

The people of NSW are fed up with a corrective  services system which merely acts as a revolving door for offenders as  they transition through a life of crime, Mr OFarrell  said.

The NSW Liberals & Nationals are determined  to treat crime at its source and this is why we have a comprehensive plan with  the goal of reducing the rate of re-offending to below the national average  within ten years," he said.

"NSW has the worst recidivism  rate of any Australian State with more than 40 per cent of prisoners returning  to gaol within two years."

A NSW Liberals & Nationals  Government will:

1.    Establish  a second Drug Court in the Sydney metropolitan area including detoxification  facilities, drug testing, monitoring and  treatment;

2.    Create a  specialist Metropolitan Drug Treatment Facility to ensure up to 300 drug  addicted prisoners get treatment and are given the opportunity to get off  drugs;

3.    Provide an  additional $20 million over four years for education and training programs in  prison; and,

4.    Encourage  greater use of non-custodial punishment for less serious offenders and create  availability and access to diversionary programs.

Mr  Smith said reducing re-offending makes sense. 

"Every  ex-prisoner who returns to gaol costs taxpayers and diverts resources which  could be spent on more hospital beds, better public transport or fixing our  roads, Mr Smith said.

Prisoners released during  2007-08 who returned to prison with a new correctional sanction within two  years –Australian Productivity Commission, Report on Government Services  2011

Prisoners returning to prison 

NSW  42.4% 
Vic  33.7% 
Qld  33.5%
WA  38.3% 
SA  30.2%
Tas  31.7%
Aust  37.6% 

A NSW Liberals &  Nationals Government will establish a second Sydney Drug Court with evidence  showing drug offenders who participate in drug courts are less likely to  re-offend,†he said. 

In 2008 the NSW Bureau of Crime  Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) found:

'…the Drug  Court program is more effective than conventional sanctions in reducing the  risk of recidivism among offenders whose crime is drug  related'.
'…there is undoubtedly  scope for another urban Drug Court.'[1]

Compared with  offenders who did not participate in the drug court program, drug court  participants were 17 per cent less likely to be reconvicted for any offence,  30 per cent less likely to be reconvicted for a violent offence and 38 per  cent less likely to be reconvicted for a drug offence at any point during the  follow-up assessment period[2].

Combined with our commitment to  a dedicated Metropolitan Drug Treatment Facility, the NSW Liberals &  Nationals plan to reduce recidivism has a strong focus on drug treatment and  rehabilitation," Mr Smith said. 

The NSW Liberals  & Nationals will also provide $20 million over four years for education  and training programs in prisons.

We are determined to  provide prisoners with the education programs to improve their chances of  rehabilitation. 

NSW Labor has failed to provide  prisoners with the rehabilitation programs they need with the Auditor-General  finding in 2006 that demand for programs far exceeded available  places. 

But reducing re-offending rates is not just  about rehabilitating those in prison, it is also about ensuring prison is only  used as a last resort and for the appropriate crimes.  

Too many minor offenders end up in prison for short  sentences which end up exposing them to a far worse network of serious  offenders. 

We will seek to encourage the use of  Intensive Correction Orders, home detention and increased access to  rehabilitation programs as a condition of a non-custodial  sentence.

The NSW Liberals & Nationals are  determined to reduce crime and make our homes and neighbourhoods safer, Mr  Smith said. 

Media: Brad Burden 0401 672 145 or Sam Fairlie-Cuninghame  0438 285 780 

www.barryofarrell.com.au <https://connect.parliament.nsw.gov.au/,DanaInfo=.awxyCffxy6xpl34s01Qu76UwF+>   

[1] Weatherburn, D., et al., (2008), The NSW Drug Court:  A re-evaluation of its effectiveness, NSW  Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Crime and Justice Bulletin,  Number 121, September 2008.

[2]  Ibid.

Brad  Burden
Deputy Chief of Staff and
Senior Media Adviser
Office of Barry  O'Farrell MP
NSW Opposition Leader
tel: 02 9230 2270
fax: 02 9221  8208
mob: 0401 672 145


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