Managing Functions and Operations
Managing operations in a fiscally constrained environment
The department’s financial strategy is based on its commitment to live within its 2011 forecast baseline levels until 2020, while reprioritising its resources to ensure funding is available to meet top-line investment in priorities. The department will create fiscal capacity to respond to cost pressures through reprioritisation over the medium term, while continuing with its capital investment programme established to support and enhance its operations, improve public safety and contribute to the overall goal of reducing re-offending.
The offender population
Corrections continues to adapt to changes in the make-up of the prison and community offender populations that we manage. Changes to legislation in 2007 resulted in a growth in the volume of offenders serving their sentence on home detention. The number of offenders serving indeterminate sentences has increased steadily, due to these individuals spending longer average periods in custody. The proportion of the imposed sentence served by longer-serving prisoners generally has also increased, from around 65% in 2009, to over 75% currently. A much greater proportion of the present prison population is comprised of offenders serving longer sentences for very serious offences, with a corresponding decrease in the proportion serving shorter sentences for offences such as dishonesty and traffic-related offences.
The Department of Corrections employs nearly 8,000 people and operates a 24/7 service. Staffing levels are dependent on offender numbers, the type of offence committed and the level of offender needs.
Corrections requires prisoner and offender/staff ratios that maintain safety and security and allow the level of interaction and interventions necessary to deliver an effective service. Staffing levels are also influenced by the practice models we operate under. These practice models have been designed to support an integrated approach to offender management and ensure the safety of our staff.
We invest in our staff to assist them to be more effective in their roles and ensure they have the appropriate skills to respond to the challenges of working with the prisoner and offender population. Enhancement of our staff safety work programme and our relentless focus on health and safety will ensure we do our best to prevent harm to our people on the frontline.
In 2015, the strategic priorities of year three of the Staff Safety programme will focus on:
- intelligence led risk management systems – utilising information gained through intelligence to involve and task our people to coordinate risk management responses
- effective and enduring staff and offender engagement – ensuring prisoners and staff interact in a way that encourages good custodial practice that optimises the opportunities time in custody offers prisoners
- empowering our frontline staff – considering a framework of incentives and earned privileges that staff can use to ensure prisoners engage in structured and busy days.
The third year of the Staff Safety programme will consolidate the work of the previous years and allow us to assess the achievement of the programme’s goal – that safety is at the heart of everything we do.
We will continue to recognise the talent of our people and develop it at all levels by embedding the Emerging Leaders programme nationally, ensuring talent is recognised and given opportunity to thrive as well as investing in our staff through our new Frontline Futures initiative.