The department's objective is to improve the outcomes for offenders. This is done through measures to reduce reoffending and provide for successful reintegration back into the community.

The use of meaningful and targeted rehabilitation and education and training programs is key to this objective, in addition to effective partnerships with other government departments, community based organisations, volunteers and the private sector.

Strategic overview

DCS’ key strategic priorities are aligned to the primary areas of focus of the South Australian Government’s forward agenda, in particular the priority of safe communities and healthy neighbourhoods, as well as the state Strategic Plan vision of: We are safe in our homes, community and at work.

DCS is also the lead agency for Target 19: Repeat offending: South Australia has the lowest rate of repeat offenders over the period to 2020.

Safety and security measures are integral to DCS operations. South Australian prisons are equipped with some of the most advanced technology to provide for the secure management of prisoners, including those prisoners who present the greatest risk to our community.

The strategic direction and key initiatives of the department are defined in the DCS Strategic and Business Plans and the department’s vision, mission, values, stakeholders and outcomes are fundamental.

Shaping Corrections

Shaping Corrections is the department’s key innovation and service improvement initiative.

Shaping Corrections ensures that our key priorities, our strategies and initiatives achieve the outcomes and shape our desired future.

Reducing reoffending

On 11 August 2016, the former Government unveiled an ambitious strategy to improve community safety and address reoffending. South Australia has experienced dramatic growth in prisoner numbers since 2004.

Reducing Reoffending: 10% by 2020 aims to achieve a 10% reduction in the number of people who return to correctional services by 2020.

The target seeks to address key challenges in the South Australian prison system.

The 2017 Report on Government Services reported that 46% of adults released from prison in South Australia returned to correctional services (either prison or community corrections) within two years of release.

To progress the strategy, the former Minister for Correctional Services appointed a Strategic Policy Panel, which was tasked with investigating “best practice in correctional services policy to identify strategies that reduce rates of reoffending and promote rehabilitation and reintegration outcomes.”

These are two highlights of the many research and reform initiatives on which DCS is focusing on currently.