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After-prison support

After prison, offenders have access to the support services and programs available to the general community. Services and programs can include:

  • housing services
  • legal services
  • employment services
  • support groups
  • telephone counselling
  • face-to-face counselling
  • drug and alcohol programs
  • childcare assistance
  • parenting skills training and information
  • mentoring programs
  • domestic violence safety plans
  • emergency relief.

Some offenders are eligible to participate in the ReConnect program, which is commenced in prison and offers continued support after release. For more information about pre and post-release support programs refer to Transition programs.

How to find services and programs

Support is available through government departments and agencies, at community centres, churches, neighbourhood houses as well as emergency relief agencies such as the Salvation Army (External link) and St Vincent de Paul Society (External link)

To find available services in your area search the Infoxchange Service Seeker website (External link) or telephone a national helpline (listed below) and ask for a referral to local services. 

The City of Melbourne has created a useful resource that details supports and services in the Melbourne region. You can view this resource, called Helping Out (External link)

Lifeline 13 11 14
General counselling and referrals (24-hour service)

Housing support services 1800 825 955
Connects callers with the nearest housing service (24-hour service)

DirectLine 1800 888 236
Alcohol and drug counselling, information and referrals (24-hour service)

MensLine 1300 78 99 78
Information and support for men to assist with issues such as anger, behaviour, relationships or parenting

Parent Line 13 22 89
Support and advice for parents

SANE Helpline 1800 187 263
Information and advice about mental illness

Suicideline 1300 651 251
Support to people who are thinking about suicide, or people who have been affected by suicide. Can refer to other services (24-hour service)

WIRE 1300 134 130
Support, advocacy and information for women

Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service (03) 9322 3555 or 1800 015 188
Crisis support and safe accommodation (refuges) for women and their children (24-hour service)

Getting Started booklets

A guide for people leaving prison, the Getting Started series of booklets includes useful tips, checklists and contact details. A Vietnamese version of this series is available.

Booklet titles include:

  • The First Week – booklet 1
  • Housing – booklet 2
  • Identification – booklet 3
  • Alcohol and Other Drugs – booklet 4
  • Centrelink – booklet 5
  • Community Corrections and Parole – booklet 6
  • Employment – booklet 7
  • Returning to Family – booklet 8
  • Women's Transition – booklet 9
  • Indigenous – booklet 10
  • Money Matters – fact sheet 1
  • Emergency Relief – fact sheet 2
  • Support – fact sheet 3
  • Legal Issues – fact sheet 4
  • Health – fact sheet 5