Mount Gambier Prison's KPI 6 programme

The South Australian Government has set a bold target to reduce the rate of reoffending by 10% by 2020.

Under the new contract to manage and operate Mount Gambier Prison (MGP) the Department for Correctional Services (DCS) has tasked G4S with achieving a 15% reduction in the rate of return to MGP within two years of release.  This target is known as KPI 6.

Success of the KPI 6 programme means for every 100 KPI-6 prisoners released from custody, 58 need to “survive” in the community for a minimum of two years. The target is just one of the ways in which G4S and DCS are working together to reduce the rates of reoffending and focus on improving community safety. To ensure the programme has the best possible chance of success, G4S engaged Flinders University and established a partnership with SYC, one of South Australia’s leading organisations in the non-for-profit social support sector, to provide invaluable support programmes to a select group of prisoners.

Selection of KPI 6 prisoners

Determining whether a prisoner is at low, moderate or high risk of reoffending is the first stage of the selection process. The groups run at maximum 30 prisoners so each candidate undergoes an assessment to measure their suitability for the programme. Studies have shown low risk prisoners will most likely naturally desist from crime and are therefore not the most suitable candidates. Similarly high Risk prisoners typically require higher intensity support over a longer period and are therefore not suited to the limited support available. Those prisoners who present in the middle of the risk continuum are the most suitable as they are likely to benefit the most from the range and intensity of the support programmes. The support programmes typically start while the prisoner is in custody, 3-4 weeks before release, and then move into the community with the for up to three months post release. This ensures a continuity of support during the transition back into community.

Ensuring success

There are several factors that G4S need to monitor and proactively respond to in order to provide the best outcome for the prisoners. G4S need to: Work with Corrective Services to ensure that prisoners are kept in Mount Gambier Prison, helping support a continuity of services and the optimal rehabilitation of the KPI Cohort. Guarantee the programme presence and staffing capacity to provide services in prisons other than Mount Gambier given that prisoners may be transferred to other facilities before release Ensure that line managers are capable of working effectively and respectfully with prisoners and act as role models for other staff by encouraging them to tune into the ‘rehabilitative vision’.

Findings to Date

The involvement with Flinders University has been an extremely positive and productive one and it’s clear that programme is having a positive effect as the results are beginning to show. To date, 64 eligible prisoners have been released from Mount Gambier Prison with only two prisoners returning. The work done on the ground by Michelle Price, General Manager, and her team clearly demonstrate a positive cultural change from within Mount Gambier Prison. Through the development of staff training packages, the management and staff reflect a refreshed culture, one focused on an improved quality of service that will have a flow-on effect on the safety and security of the Mount Gambier community and beyond.