Rehabilitation and services: Corrective Services

Reintegration and Rehabilitation delivers a range of programs and interventions with the aim of improving offenders’ lives and reducing the likelihood of further re-offending.

This includes ensuring appropriate assessment and case management practice is in place that enables offenders to acquire relevant employment and education skills, that re-integrative needs are assessed and that preventive programs and services are delivered.

The aim is to make sure offenders leave the system with more knowledge on how to improve their lives whether through increased life skills, work qualifications, improved health or parenting skills.

While the Department provides offenders the opportunity to take part in programs and interventions, it is ultimately up to the individual to change. It requires more than a program to turn a life around, particularly if people return to the same dysfunctional lifestyle that may have led to their offending in the first place.

Rehabilitation programs

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Addressing offender drug and alcohol use

A large proportion of the State's prisoners have an alcohol or drug-related problem that has contributed to their imprisonment.

To help rehabilitate people with alcohol and drug dependencies, the Department offers a Pathways Program - an intensive, 21 week program focusing on reducing reoffending and substance abuse.

Furthermore, the Department has dedicated Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) prisons for women and men offering substance-abuse programs in a modified therapeutic community at Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison and the Mallee Rehabilitation Centre at Casuarina Prison.

Graduates from these programs can be given priority to move into Drug Free Units available at Wooroloo, Albany, Bandyup and Acacia prisons.

The Pathways Program is available at WA prisons.

Types of offending

When a person commits an offence and is jailed, they have the option of undergoing a range of treatment programs to help them identify their problem areas. These include addiction, general offending, violent offending, sex offending and those that work to improve prisoner’s cognitive skills.

General offending programs aim to help offenders get a better understanding of why they offended, using a range of treatment methods including problem solving, relapse prevention and safety planning. They also help them work toward improving various aspects of their lives. Programs designed specifically to meet the needs of women have also been introduced.

A number of violent offending programs are run at prisons throughout the State. These programs look at the causes of violent offending and help prisoners develop positive behaviour and attitudes. Domestic violence programs are also available for male prisoners and focus on patterned behaviour and accountability.

Sex offending programs cover a range of issues and aims to give participants the skills and insight they need to accept responsibility for their offending behaviour. For offenders who believe they have been falsely accused, we have the Sex Offender Deniers Program introduced in 2008 and currently runs at Acacia, Bunbury and Karnet prisons.

Cognitive skills

The Department runs a variety of programs that work to improve a prisoner's problem solving and social interaction skills and to help them understand their personal beliefs and values.
Delivered by prison officers, both programs are available Statewide.

Education and employment services

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The Department of Justice aims to make a positive difference in the lives of prisoners through a variety of education, training and employment programs.

Prisoners can take part in a wide range of education, vocational, life skills and employment preparation programs while in custody.

As a starting point, education staff at each prison help prisoners with basic education and literary skills. Prisoners can complete education and vocational training programs such as TAFE courses and traineeships in prison industries to improve their skills.

In doing this, prisoners leave prison with a better chance of finding a job or continuing their education.

If you have any queries or need more information, contact the Education and Employment Services on +61 8 6250 9200.

Course information

All prisoners serving sentences of 6 months or more should have their literacy and numeracy levels assessed when they enter prison.

The Department's Education and Employment Services (EES) delivers education and vocational training to prisoners. The aim of the training is to give prisoners the best chance possible to find a job when they are released so the EES works with the Department of Training and Workforce Development, public and private registered training organisations and a network of government, industry and external service providers.

All courses are recognised as industry standard, meaning all qualifications and certificates are nationally recognised, giving prisoners better job prospects when they are released. All courses started in prison can be continued in the community at a TAFE college or with any other nationally registered public or private training provider.

Prisoners can study the following courses on a full-time or part-time basis:

  • adult basic education 
  • vocational training 
  • higher education 
  • employability and life skills
  • pre-release and Prisoner Employment Program
  • driver education and training.

The Time to Work Employment Services (Aboriginal Prisoners)

Under the Time to Work Employment Service (TWES), Time to Work Providers (TWP) will register Aboriginal Prisoners before release. Generally speaking, during these meetings, the TWP will:

  • conduct a Job Seeker Classification Instrument assessment
  • assist the Department of Human Services to conduct the Employment Services Assessment
  • discuss and prepare a Participant’s Transition Plan
  • organise and attend a Facilitated Transfer Meeting with the Participant and their post-release Employment Services Provider.

If you have any queries or need more information contact the Time to Work Employment Service on 1800 805 260.

Prisoner Employment Program (PEP)

The Prisoner Employment Program (PEP) is available to minimum-security prisoners who are getting close to being released. The program connects prisoners up with paid employment, education or work experience enabling a pathway for them to continue this employment or training once released.

The aim is to improve a prisoner's chance of getting a job, an apprenticeship or a TAFE course when they are released. The program also means prisoners can develop skills and support networks on the outside, making it easier for them to successfully re-enter the community.

All payment from employers is held in a secure account for prisoners until they are released.

Going Home

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The Department is committed to assisting offenders with their transition back into the community. Transitional Managers (TMs) are located at each of the State's prisons to coordinate services that will help offenders re-enter the community. The Department funds a number of service providers across the State to support offenders in the transition from prison to release. Offenders assessed as high and medium risk of re-offending are referred to the service providers six months prior to release for assistance with the following:

  • Adjusting to life after prison
  • Connecting with family and community
  • Finding a place to live
  • Positive parenting relationships
  • Preparing for and finding work

Release – Help and Support

Release – Help and Support is a website which provides ex-offenders and their families with a directory of support agencies who provide services and help as they reintegrate into the community:

Family Support Service Centres (FSSC)

FSSC provide information, support and referral services to prisoners' families, friends and other visitors to the prison. FSSC also offer crèche services and lockers for personal belongings for people visiting someone in prison. For more information, contact the individual prison's general number for the Transitional Manager under Prison locations.

Leave for prisoners

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Sometimes a prisoner is given permission to leave prison for a certain amount of time. The following types of leave may be available to prisoners after they have been through a comprehensive assessment process.

Attendance at funerals and visiting gravely ill person/s

Any prisoner may apply to leave the prison on compassionate grounds. This includes attending a funeral or visiting a gravely ill person who has only been given a short time to live. A prisoner is always accompanied by an officer on such leave.

The significance of the relationship between the prisoner and the deceased or gravely ill person is a major consideration in whether or not the application is approved. Security, logistics and victim issues are also considered.

Re-Integration leave (Home leave)

The Re-Integration Leave program enables long-term, minimum-security prisoners to leave the prison under the supervision of an approved sponsor for set periods of time. This leave means offenders who have spent a long time in prison can re-establish family and community relationships which helps them adjust when they are released.  As an incentive for work camp participation, a greater rate of leave is provided for prisoners located in a work camp than for those placed at a prison.

A prisoner has to meet a number of eligibility criteria before they can apply to be included in the Re-Integration Leave program.

Re-socialisation programs

Re-socialisation programs are designed mainly for prisoners on life and indefinite sentences. The aim is to gradually reintegrate those prisoners into the community before they are released.

The Department, the Prisoners Review Board and the Attorney General all have to give approval for life and indefinite sentenced prisoners to take part in a re-socialisation program. Final approval is then required from the Governor.

Re-socialisation programs vary in length depending on the individual prisoner's risks and needs, although they generally run between 6 and 24 months. Typically, a prisoner on a re-socialisation program will be placed at a minimum-security facility and will take part in supervised and unsupervised external activities, develop their community supports through the Re-Integration Leave program and also take part in aspects of the Prisoner Employment Program. 

External activities

To give prisoners more opportunities for rehabilitation and re-connecting with the community before their release, minimum-security prisoners are able to take part in a range of activities outside prison that:

  • promote health and wellbeing
  • give them knowledge and skills that will help them live a law abiding lifestyle
  • provide opportunities for them to improve themselves, for example through education and training
  • help prisoners pay back their debt to the community for the crimes they committed.

A prisoner's involvement in these outside activities is always based on a security assessment.

The activities have to be approved as suitable and in accordance to relevant legislation.

Pastoral care

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Religious and Spiritual services are available in all Western Australian prisons providing prisoners and young people the opportunity to practice their chosen religion in a manner equivalent to any person in the community.

Prisoners can meet with spiritual leaders from their chosen religion for services, pastoral visits, religious instruction and private counselling. Prisoners and young people are not required to identify with a particular faith or spiritual belief in order to engage with these services.

Page reviewed 27 July 2021