Offenders are achieving their own goals while repaying their debt to society and helping one of Western Australia’s most prominent charitable organisations - the Salvation Army.
Unveiling a plaque today, Corrective Services Minister Margaret Quirk said the Cannington Salvos Store had used the Repay WA scheme to establish and develop a strong partnership with the Department of Corrective Services over the past eight years.
“Through the Repay WA program, offenders on work and development, community-based and intensive supervision orders complete maintenance, general cleaning and preparation of items for sale,” Ms Quirk said.
“In the past eight years, more than 2,000 indigenous and non-indigenous offenders have worked at the store, each completing between 40 to 240 hours of work, as part of the conditions of their various court orders.
“Through this partnership many offenders have developed a stronger work ethic, team work skills and communication abilities.
“These skills are all aspects of departmental initiatives to help offenders repay their debt to society, reintegrate with the community and improve their chances of employment.
“Research consistently shows that offenders who can be gainfully employed are much less likely to re-offend. Equipping such people with job skills not only makes them ready for work, but it also contributes to community safety and that can only be a good thing.”
Salvos Stores state manager Sean Burgess said paid staff managed the stores.
“But we (Salvos Stores) couldn’t raise necessary funds for our charity work if we had to employ more staff to do the work completed by offenders,” Mr Burgess said.
“The work carried out by offenders has saved us many thousands of dollars which we can instead put into helping people who really need support from the community.”
The Repay WA initiative was launched in April 2004 to support the abolition of sentences of six months or less. Projects are completed in partnerships between the Department of Corrective Services and not-for-profit external partners, by community-based offenders completing community work orders.
Supervised community work saves taxpayers money, costing 10 times less than sending someone to prison. Community work by community-based offenders contributes about 250,000 hours of community work each year.
At any one time, there are about 1,800 community work projects operating in WA - 1,400 in regional areas and 400 in the metropolitan area.
Minister's office - 9213 7000