Indigenous Treatment Cheaper Alternative to Prisons

Article excerpt

MARNIE JOHNSTON

marnie.johnston@northernstar.com.au

A LANDMARK report, released today, shows $111,000 can be saved each year per offender by diverting non-violent indigenous offenders into treatment instead of prison.

The report, from Deloitte Access Economics for the Australian National Council on Drugs, reveals that by diverting indigenous offenders into treatment there is a $111,000 saving per indigenous offender per year in direct financial savings plus an overall saving of $92,000 from better health and quality of life outcomes.

The reports announces:

Of the 29,000 prisoners in Australia, 26% of them are indigenous.

Indigenous adults are 14 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-indigenous people.

50% of indigenous prisoners would be back in prison within two years, as opposed to 35% of non-indigenous prisoners.

Indigenous academic from Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples at Southern Cross University, Dr Loretta Kelly, says she agrees with the study and that the savings arenat only financial, but health-related too.

aExisting research demonstrates that indigenous offenders are not receiving effective drug and alcohol rehabilitation in correctional centres,a Dr Kelly said.

aWhen released back into our communities, too many continue to abuse substances, which places them at greater risk of re-offending. …