In an Australian first, the Department for Correctional Services (DCS) has released a ground-breaking Aboriginal Strategic Framework (ASF) 2020-2025.
The ASF is the first of its kind in the nation to encompass the needs of prisoners, offenders, staff and community. It provides a culturally informed and tailored approach to address the needs of Aboriginal prisoners and offenders and ensures that DCS programs, policies and supports are culturally safe.
The framework was informed through consultation with prisoners, staff and the community and outlines three components to improve outcomes for Aboriginal people:
- Ensure access to programs and services that are responsive to the unique cultural and gendered need of Aboriginal prisoners.
- Build a culturally competent and responsive workforce.
- Increase Aboriginal economic participation and strengthen partnerships with organisations, businesses and Aboriginal communities.
Minister for Correctional Services Vincent Tarzia said the Marshall Liberal Government is proud to be the first government to introduce the important framework.
South Australia leads the nation with the lowest recidivism rate and has the second highest percentage of prisoner education participation in the country.
“We are working hard and achieving important milestones, but acknowledge there is more work to be done to address the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in the Correctional Services system,” Minister Tarzia said.
“The ASF highlights the importance of considering Aboriginal cultures in our everyday business if we are to improve outcomes for Aboriginal people.
“The document was designed and printed by Aboriginal business and features artwork created by Aboriginal DCS staff.
“It defines actions that are responsive to community need and are practical and measurable.
Department for Correctional Services Chief Executive, David Brown, said the ASF builds on the progress the Department has already made to provide culturally responsive approaches to offender management.
“Although the Department has implemented a range of initiatives to better address the needs of Aboriginal prisoners and offenders over recent decades, there continues to be significant overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in our justice system,” Mr Brown said.
“While DCS alone is not responsible for this significant issue, or able to fix it in isolation, we do have a key role to play, and the ASF creates a roadmap for the Department and key stakeholders.”