Evaluation of home detention in South Australia: Final report

Jesse Cale, Fredrick Zmudzki, Fiona Hilferty, Lise Lafferty, Tyson Whitten, Michael Doyle, Kylie Valentine

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report (public)

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This report presents the findings of an evaluation undertaken to assess the impact that legislative and program changes have had on the effectiveness and efficiency of home detention (HD) in South Australia (SA). The evaluation was commissioned by the Department for Correctional Services (DCS) following the introduction of a series of reforms to expand and improve the use of HD throughout the state. The evaluation, conducted by a team of researchers from UNSW Australia, aimed to assess the impact of introduced reforms on specified key indicators: reoffending rates, prisoner growth, government expenditure, community safety, and the lives of those subject to HD and various stakeholders.

Examined together, the findings detailed in this report present a picture of positive impact. While some qualitative data indicates that the HISSP program could be enhanced to better meet the needs of prisoners on HD, and that some prisoners had unrealistic expectations about daily life on HD, the quantitative data analysis reveals some positive prisoner outcomes. For example, the return to custody rate is significantly lower for prisoners who completed their sentence on Release Ordered Home Detention (ROHD) than a matched group of prisoners who served their sentence in prison (20.0% compared to 34.3%). Moreover, the finding that breach numbers have not increased despite significantly longer ROHD sentences since 2016 suggests that the assessment processes for ROHD are effective in selectively targeting those more likely to manage HD conditions. Finally, the economic analysis presented in Section 5 reveals significant demonstrable cost offsets for the government, as well as non-costed positive outcomes such as an increased ability to retain housing and therefore reduce the risk of homelessness or reliance upon homelessness services.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSydney, NSW
Commissioning body Department for Correctional Services, South Australia
Number of pages112
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


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