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All Victorian prisons help prisoners to prepare for release through a range of support and transition programs. Visiting community service organisations and other government departments offer prisoners assistance with a range of pre-release matters including identification, housing and accommodation, finance and Centrelink, employment, legal matters and medical assistance.
Prisoners being released need to ensure they have current identification documents (ID). Identification is required to access a range of services including Centrelink and Medicare and to get a job, open a bank account and more. Prior to release, prisoners are assisted to apply for identity documents such as a birth certificates, licence renewals and proof-of-age cards.
Housing & accommodation
Many prisoners being released experience issues with housing and homelessness on release. Public and social housing resources are limited, in high demand and have long waiting lists. Support is available in prison from visiting housing workers who can provide information about housing options and make referrals to housing support services on release. Prisoners are advised to begin considering housing options well before leaving prison.
Offenders released on parole are required to have their housing plans approved by the Adult Parole Board.
Finance & Centrelink
Centrelink Prison Liaison Officers visit prisons to assess prisoners eligibility for Australian Government payments and services upon release. Some prisoners being released may be eligible for a crisis payment.
Prisoners get help to access legal support and advice before they leave prison so outstanding legal matters are addressed. Matters may include unpaid debts, fines and warrants, intervention orders, and family and custody matters.
Alcohol & other drugs
Prisoners requiring treatment for substance misuse can talk to prison health staff to arrange access to treatment in the community.
Offenders with a parole order should check the order’s conditions regarding alcohol and drug use.
The health staff will develop a discharge summary for the prisoner to take with them when they leave prison. If a prisoner has an appointment with a specialist in the public health system that is to occur after they are released from custody, information on the appointment will be provided as part of the discharge summary. Health staff may also develop a discharge plan for the prisoner to support them to access healthcare in the community.
Community Correctional Services
Transport from prison
Prisoners are required to arrange their transport (and request any necessary assistance) prior to release. Transport arrangements are discussed as part of the Transitional Assistance Program. For more information, refer to Programs.
Once released from prison, offenders have access to the support services and programs available to the general community. For more information, refer to After-prison support.