Bridging the Gap began as a pilot program in 2001 to address the lack of support and the high rates of reoffending and drug-related death among released prisoners in Victoria.

The program was an important part of the Victorian Government Drug program and the Victorian Prison Drug Strategy, as a means to reduce drug-related harm to post-release prisoners.

Bridging the Gap aimed to:

  • reduce the risk of reoffending and re-imprisonment
  • reduce the risk of post-release overdose and death
  • minimise harm associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs.

After the pilot ended in 2004, Corrections Victoria secured additional program funding for a further three years. Five agencies were contracted to provide the services until 12 October 2006, with the option to extend the agreement for a further year.

The agencies contracted to deliver Bridging the Gap were:

  • Australian Community Support Organisation
  • Jesuit Social Services (The Brosnan Centre)
  • Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre
  • Victorian Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders
  • WISE Employment

Since 2007, a change in policy has led to an integrated transitional service system where the program's services have been provided as part of two new programs:

  • Link Out program for male ex-prisoners
  • Women's Integrated Support Program (WISP) for female ex-prisoners

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