Journal article

The Violence Prevention Program in South Australia: A Recidivism and Cost-Benefit Analysis Pilot Study

Gene Mercer, Emma Ziersch, Shawn Sowerbutts, Andrew Day, Henry Pharo



Rehabilitation of incarcerated men is a primary focus of correctional systems across the world. The present pilot study examined the effect of participation in the South Australian Violence Prevention Program (VPP) on recidivism trajectories. Individuals who participated in the VPP were significantly less likely to engage in violent recidivism, with the greatest effect observed between Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders relative to similarly matched comparators. In addition, the types of violent crimes committed were less severe for those who engaged in treatment relative to the comparison group. No differences were observed between groups in overall rates of reoffending, or the lengt..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge and thank the Department's Executive Team for their support in both conducting and subsequently publishing the findings of this study. The authors would also like to acknowledge the clinicians who deliver the rehabilitation program. Their expertise and dedication to improving the lives of individuals in prison is integral to its success. This study was conducted by staff from the Offender Development Directorate within the Department for Correctional Services South Australia, along with support and encouragement from Andrew Day who is an Enterprise Professor in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the opinions of the Department for Correctional Services, South Australia or the University of Melbourne. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Gene Mercer, Department for Correctional Services, P.O. Box 1747, Adelaide, 5001, South Australia; e-mail: