University of Tasmania
whole_RookMeinardKarel1978_thesis.pdf (9.36 MB)

A practical evaluation of the Tasmanian Work order scheme

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posted on 2023-05-27, 16:45 authored by Rook, Meinard Karel
The Work Order Scheme was introduced into the Tasmanian criminal justice system in 1972 as an optional alternative to imprisonment. It provides for offenders to be sentenced to a maximum of 25 days of work on community projects, to be completed during normal leisure periods. 'l'he introduction of the scheme was accompanieq by a reversal of trends 'from an increasing to a decreasing daily average prison population. Although this would appear to be related to t.he introduction of the Work Order Scheme, a similar reversal of trends occurred in the other Australian States, indicating an Australia-wide change in sentencing policy. A six-month analysis of the operation of the scheme involving 451 offenders showed an average weekly attendance of 63%, 12% absent without leave and 24% absent with permission. The absconding rate was 5. 5% and 1.6%; were breached for non-compliance with their work order instructions. Significant differences in performance were found between the five administrative regions as well as the three different types of work projects. The characteristics of offenders sentenced to work orders were similar to those found throughout the criminal justice systems in the western world, namely poorly-educated, young, single males working in semi-skilled or unskilled jobs with a record of prior offences. A comparison of recidivism rates between comparable groups of offenders sentenced to work orders and those sentenced to three months or less of imprisonment, showed that 44% of the work order group were convicted of subsequent offences compared to 58% of the short-term prison group within a six-to-eighteen-month follow-up period. Similar differences were found between the two groups for subsequent imprisonment, with 18% of the work order group being sentenced to prison for subsequent offences compared to 31% of the short-term prison group. A comparison of the costs of imprisonment and the costs of the Work Order Scheme showed the gross cost of imprisonment in 1974/75 to be around $145 per prisoner per week, compared to an estimated gross cost of about $4 per work order employee per week. This cost differential was increased when the value of production was considered. Qualitative information in the form of anecdotes high lighting outstanding successes and failures on the scheme were considered, and finally a number of suggestions made for improving the scheme.


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Copyright 1978 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Bibliography: l. 262-266. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Tasmania, 1978

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