Success for OutCARE is people not going back to jail

At a time when the Territory is scrambling to find alternatives to locking up criminals, we want to talk about our OutCARE program.

OutCARE is run by Anglicare NT in Alice Springs and Darwin. It helps men coming out of prison on parole, and supports them to get back on their feet and back into the community.

It offers a place to live when prisoners are first released, support to find a job or get into training, support with setting up a new life and help to stick to parole conditions.

“Success for us is people not going back to jail” said Jason Lord, case manager with OutCARE. “We have guys who could be on parole for nine months, and we work with them to go back to their community or where they are from, back to families and back to a good life. Back to living, back to working, back to doing what is expected of them”.

Simple ideas often yield the best results

OutCARE and programs like OutCARE that offer wrap around support for people on parole consistently show a reduction in people going back to prison. “The recidivism rate in Alice Springs sits at about 75%, the rate for OutCARE participants is around 20%” said Adam Holme, OutCARE manager in Alice Springs.

The simplicity of the program is its strength according to Jason. “It’s straightforward. It’s blokes looking after blokes. We’re trying to give back to blokes what we all live for; somewhere to live, relationships with family, going to work each day or having a decent car to drive. We all want the same things at the end of the day”.

Trust is the biggest hurdle for ex-prisoners

Shannon spent many years in prison in Alice Springs and Darwin, and believes people have little understanding of how difficult it is to leave prison and set up a new life.

“The hardest thing for everyone in corrections is finding someone outside the system to trust us. I have a face full of tattoos and people cross to the other side of the path when I walk past. Anglicare helped me out and took a lot of the weight off my shoulders, especially with accommodation”.

Shannon believes that without the support from OutCARE in Alice Springs, he would most likely be living on the streets or back in prison. Not because he broke the law he points out, but because he broke his parole conditions of having approved accommodation and a job.

Let’s share the knowledge of what works

Justice reinvestment means investing money into community led programs that reduce the crime rate and the rate at which people go back to jail. There is Commonwealth funding available for justice reinvestment programs in the Northern Territory, so let’s share what we know works to make the best use of the funding available.