The new measures will only include people who are convicted and sentenced to serve time in prison within two years of their release.

The rate will exclude people who are remanded in custody within two years, but do not go on to receive a sentence of imprisonment until more than two years after their release.

The change to Victoria’s measurement of recidivism follows a national agreement of appropriate counting rules. It is a more accurate reflection of the rate at which sentenced prisoners return with a new sentence within two years of their release. It also improves our ability to compare data across states and territories.

Using the new methodology for 2021-22, the expected outcome published in the Budget Paper 3 for the rate of return to prison within two years is 37.7 per cent. This is a better result than the 40.7 per cent rate the old methodology expected for 2021-22. Whether using the old or new methodology, the recidivism rate for 2021-22 shows improvement compared to the previous year’s rate of 43.6 per cent.

The new counting rules also affect the result for the rate of return to corrective services within two years of discharge from a community corrections order. In 2021-22, the expected outcome for this measure is 10.5 per cent. This is 2.6 percentage points lower than the result recorded in 2020-21 ( 13.1 per cent), and is better than the Budget Paper 3 target rate of 16 per cent.

Even before the new improved methodology, Victoria had one of the lowest recidivism rates in the country. Our rate of ex-prisoners returning to prison under sentence within two years has been lower than the national rate for five years.

Rehabilitation and reintegration services play a large part in improving recidivism rates. The benefits of work, training and education extend well beyond getting a job and a regular income. It helps offenders change how they think about themselves and discover ways they can be productive members of the community.

You can learn more about the role that work, training and education plays in the Correctional System.