The importance of supporting post-release services

Samaritans CEO

Too often individuals fall back into the cycle of criminal activity after being released from prison. The recidivism rate in Australia is a staggering 60%. A lack of support upon exiting prison is a major factor in this statistic and consequently one third of ex-inmates will spend their first night out of gaol struggling to find appropriate accommodation. It costs tax payers over $90,000 to imprison one person for one year – the same amount can rehabilitate 150 people and keep them from returning to prison.

Having support once leaving prison makes a huge difference to the individual. Imagine leaving prison and having no job, often no family and no place to sleep. In NSW when someone leaves prison there is a 1 in 2 chance they will reoffend and return to prison. However, when a person is assisted to find a job, secure accommodation and achieve their goals this statistic dramatically decreases. On our evidence, only 1 in 10 people supported through our post-release program Friendship House will reoffend and return to prison.

In October I will be braving a night in Maitland gaol for Samaritans ‘Lock Up & Sleep In’ fundraising event. Proceeds will go towards Samaritans post-release services, which do not receive any government funding. I invite you to join me in supporting this important cause by considering being ‘locked up’ for the night to raise funds through sponsorship or attending the Lock Up dinner on October 14. To register for the Lock Up event click here.

Samaritans is a charity that assists thousands of people in need throughout Newcastle & the Hunter. Find out how Samaritans can help you here