Queensland Correctional Services facilitators Jann-Maree Mitchell and Sophie Dreise conduct the Ending Offending program.
Queensland Correctional Services facilitators Jann-Maree Mitchell and Sophie Dreise conduct the Ending Offending program. Max Fleet

Program focuses on indigenous

BUNDABERG Corrective Services staff have introduced a new program targeted at helping indigenous people break the cycle of offending.

The Ending Offending program kicked off for the first time yesterday - an initiative the Bundaberg staff took on without extra funding after they noticed a large number of indigenous offenders in the region.

District manager Karen Bailey said in Bundaberg about 12% of offenders Corrective Services dealt with through probation and parole were from an indigenous background.

“It’s quite high when you compare it to the indigenous population in Bundaberg. This program is a part of our efforts to help close the gap in the local area,” she said.

About 2.9% of the Bundaberg region’s population is of indigenous descent.

“We saw the need in this community and thought that the program, which has been successful in other areas, would be good for Bundaberg,” Ms Bailey said.

About $1500 was spent to train two staff members and to buy a kit so they could run the two-day program, which focuses on substance abuse.

“In the workshop, they are looking at decision making and at how substance abuse, like alcohol or drugs, contributes to their behaviour. They also discuss whether they need to reduce or stop their consumption,” Ms Bailey said.

Program facilitators Jann-Maree Mitchell and Sophie Dreise both volunteered to run the program on top of their regular duties.

“It was something we thought we could do to help,” Ms Dreise said.

“And we are all having fun here. It’s a small group but we are working well together.”

Just five people out of an expected eight turned up for the first session, but Ms Bailey said she was happy with those numbers.

“A lot of our work relies on making small steps,” she said.

“We are happy to see the time it has taken out over the past couple of months starting to pay off.”

The program will continue today.



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