Home Detention Evaluation

In 2016 there were a number of legislative, policy and program changes to expand current Home Detention provisions, these included:

  1. Expanding Release Ordered Home Detention
  2. Establishing a new sentencing option, Court Ordered (Sentenced) Home Detention.

To support offenders to successfully complete their home detention sentence, DCS developed the Home Detention Integrated Support Services Program (HISSP), being delivered by OARS Community Transitions. HISSP provides individualised supports and services to offenders on home detention.

In order to determine the potential impacts and improvements associated with these changes, DCS engaged the Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales (UNSW), to undertake an independent evaluation of the changes to home detention in South Australia.

The evaluation consisted of three components, it:

  • Measured the effect that changes to HD have had on prisoner outcomes
  • Examined the effectiveness of the implementation of changes to HD and the newly developed HISSP program
  • Aimed to establish if the changes to HD offers cost savings for government.

UNSW have delivered two reports:

  1. Evaluation of SA Home Detention Research Report 1 – Baseline Analysis was delivered in early 2018
  2. The final report, Evaluation of Home Detention in South Australia: Final Report was completed in 2019.

Both reports can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Key findings

Key findings in the Final Report include:

  • Less than one-fifth (16.3%) breached the conditions during their Order and less than one-fifth (17.4%) returned to custody at some point following the conclusion of their ROHD order
  • 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
  • ROHD prisoners were significantly less likely to return to custody: 20.0% compared to 34.3% (when comparing a sample of ROHD prisoners matched with a sample of prisoners discharged from prison)
  • HD is reducing demand for custodial sentences of around 440 prison beds per year during the study timeframe across ROHD and COHD
  • HD prisoners are likely to benefit from improved life trajectories, which are potentially reflected in significant positive benefits and system cost offsets, for example an increased ability for offenders to retain housing and therefore a reduced risk of homelessness and reliance on homelessness services. These benefits can extend well beyond the HD episode, potentially offsetting the cost of HD investment many times over
  • Finally, the economic analysis indicated significant demonstrable cost offsets for government. The program cost of $8.5 million is generating $38.8 million of direct prison offsets with high confidence, plus a further estimated future offset beyond the study timeframe of $18.0 million, a total estimated cost offset of $56.8 million.


  • Download: Evaluation of SA Home Detention Research Report 1 – Baseline Analysis (520.7 KB PDF)
  • Download: Evaluation of Home Detention in South Australia - Final Report (1.6 MB PDF)