Approaching Responsivity: The Victorian Department of Justice and Indigenous Offenders
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Offender rehabilitation has developed a stronghold on correctional practice in the past two decades. Further strengthening this grip have been three main principles for effective practice; risk, needs and responsivity. This paper will focus on the responsivity principle, which dictates that effective rehabilitation involves consideration of an offender’s cognitive behavioural characteristics and appropriate program delivery. In particular, this paper will analyse how this task has been approached by the Victorian Department of Justice in relation to Indigenous offenders. Drawing on recent interviews with Justice staff, it will be shown that Justice’s approach to being responsive to the needs of Victorian Indigenous offenders is more complex than addressing cognitive behavioural characteristics and program delivery. It involves meaningful interactions that extend beyond the Department of Justice and Indigenous offenders to include Indigenous communities.