The Sex Offender Support Program is a voluntary program which commenced in 8th August 08, funded by the Department of Justice. It provides support for those prisoners who have received a sentence for sex offences and are either eligible for or have participated in the Corrections Services Sex Offender Program. Support is given to those who have a community based disposition or are serving a prison sentence.
The aim of the program is to reduce the likelihood of reoffending.
Outreach Support Workers will visit those in prison and develop a release plan. Support can include sourcing accommodation, employment, and maintaining Correctional commitments, thus leading clients away from reoffending and developing a more positive and stable lifestyle.
This programme provides a service to offenders who are in the main on the outer fringes of mainstream community and have few or no supports.
Although work done amongst sex offenders is not generally well accepted within the community, nevertheless the SOSP programme is one staff are proud of.
Community attitudes regarding sex offenders can sometimes suggest that we should “let them rot.” However, experience and data demonstrate that supporting a sex offender will reduce the risk of reoffending.
The Sex Offender Support Programme emerged from the pioneering work of Sr Clare McShee with sex offenders over the last two decades. This early work was known as the Prison Outreach Support Service, and is now absorbed into SOSP.
Sr. Clare McShee is quoted as saying that whilst these offences are abhorred by staff, nevertheless there must be engagement with offenders in order to reduce the potential risk to future victims and thus avoid the irreparable damage that can be done when these offences are committed.
Increased funding saw the program extended to provide support to prisoners on Extended Supervision Orders, which monitor offenders beyond the prison.
ACSO is seen as leader in this type of program development.
“…What a place. John committed suicide yesterday, another bloke gets stabbed in the showers. Who cares? They go out of their way to show you they don’t care if we live or die…
…Solitude…I am collating the cries and moans of my fellow inmates. Hopelessness… degradation….mourning.
…ACSO, my only visitors in all that time.”
Then out of prison:
“….I realise there’s no magical Freedom Wizard taking me by the hand. You see you have to build it yourself, yet all the old framework is gone.
…..I am alone as I sit in the train going to a town that I had never seen before. I arrive at the boarding house.