About 45% of prisoners return to prison within two years. Countries like Norway are half that rate. With nearly 45,000 people in Australian prisons, and many costing about AU$120k a year, that’s AU$5b before victims, health, police or other justice costs are considered. New Zealand costs are no different. Offending damages lives and imposes burdens on communities that must be reduced - but our costs and prison numbers are trending up!
Is there a single silver bullet that will reduce reoffending? Experts say no, and practitioners that if there were, they would have found it already. So what is the way ahead? Incremental improvement through fearless innovation and a willingness to learn, copy and replicate other’s success.
Research suggests investment in rehabilitation in prisons is helping and fresh emphasis on reintegrating offenders into the community is promising. But the numbers coming out of prison or serving community sentences are staggering. Most prisoners serve about two years and as almost half of them return to prison, many thousands in the community are at risk at any one time.
Hard-working staff, therefore, need tools to help them focus their efforts on those offenders who need help before they reoffend. They need modern case management tools that give them immediate access to the critical information they need to allow them to use their time efficiently. Staff also need help from family and supporters in the community and a way to better create a fence at the top of the cliff, not summon an ambulance for the inevitable accident at the bottom.
Reoffending is a complex matter. Experts broadly consider a combination of personal, sociological, economic, and lifestyle factors are responsible. Many old acquaintances don’t help, but they alone are not the sole cause of crime. Professional thinking about how to treat the reintegration challenges can differ but does tend to converge on a common theme. Left alone, many offenders will reoffend – meaning don’t leave offenders alone! And don’t game the system, help them all and do it early.
By looking for triggers, timely support can make a difference. Staff using modern consoles and dashboards can immediately see disturbing trends or common patterns. Simple graphs and tables, displaying relevant information that is easy to get can trigger early engagement. And just as staff need mobile tools to help them, so too do supporters. Why should a trusted aunty wait for staff to ask her to make a phone call to a nephew after an incident when she can do it herself and possibly prevent a crime? Shared knowledge enables willing intervention. Family and friends who want to help need tools that let them help.
WA statistics, similar to those throughout New Zealand, indicate younger offenders will return to prison more than older people, indigenous more than non-indigenous, the addicted more than those without addiction. We know there are statistical patterns, we know there are indicators… With targeted support focused on the individual’s needs, we can change the reoffending trajectory. We also know that if nothing changes, nothing changes!
Our Social and Corrective Platform, or SCP in short, is a bit of mobile technology that brings together clever features from mobile phone app’s we all use every day. It is based on popular things that work, like calendars, messaging, and immediate links to documentation and support. It replicates common tools we all enjoy in a way offenders and their supporters need.
SCP is about enabling users to be responsible for themselves, letting supporters support them and helping staff identify where and when to put their talents to best use. SCP features simple tools we all use every day, it is intuitive, there is no learning curve, no training, nor any complicated interpretation of the information it displays. It simply puts all the information offenders and supporters need in a single place that users can immediately access. If you understand the screenshots below, you’ve done all the training you need!
SCP has a few clever tricks. It is secure. Offender and support information is private. It supports remote welfare checking and retains most forms of communication as auditable records. It combines information to display patterns that trigger action. Interventions are encouraged to help offenders make good decisions before they pursue damaging paths that cannot be reversed.
Will SCP turn around every offender? Will it save the billions our economies can no longer sustain?
No, probably not, or at least not alone. SCP will help hard-working staff digitise antiquated workflows and better pick how and when they engage with those they help every day. SCP will help willing relatives and other supporters who want to stop those they care about reoffending. It will trigger action that might be as simple as a timely phone call. SCP will help offenders get the professional help they need, at the moment they sense they need it, from the many willing groups in our communities. Most of all though, SCP will help offenders reintegrate and make informed decisions about how they want to behave.
This platform is all about stopping offenders returning to prison. If it stops a handful, it’s an investment with a positive return! More importantly though, if SCP stops just one person being the victim of crime, it is priceless!
If you want to know more about SCP, being a government or an NGO, with interests in offenders or the victims of crime, please contact us. We know no one buys a solution like this off a web site. We will come to you, explain what we have done, what we are doing in pilots and programs, and what we intend to do. If your organisation shares our vision for fearless innovation, shared learning, and great community outcomes give us a call!