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Enhancing offender programs to address recidivism

Clark, B, Oxley, J, O'Hern, S, Harrison, C (Peer reviewed)

Road Safety Programs

ARSC conference 2015

Legislation and enforcement systems are recognised effective mechanisms to curb illegal driving behaviours, particularly amongst young offenders. Evidence suggests that when applied together with behavioural and educational programs, significant gains can be achieved toward reducing the prevalence and recidivism of these behaviours. A review of best practice evidence and comparison with two examples of educational programs currently implemented in Victoria was undertaken, in order to better understand the potential benefits of such programs. These programs are built on restorative justice principles, employ a cognitive behavioural approach designed to support behaviour change through a process of education, reflection and prevention, and are offered as part of either a sentencing option (for older and recidivist offenders) or early intervention (targeted at youths). The comparisons focused on key aspects of delivery, content, style, structure, and therapeutic approaches. The findings suggest that overall these programs meet best practice standards and principles and therefore have the potential to make a significant contribution to the reduction of driving offence recidivism. Implications of the findings are discussed in terms of effectiveness of components, feasibility, practical implications and potential further enhancements to offender programs.