|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
The Office of Corrections was created to provide an integrated system of community based and custodial correctional services for convicted and unconvicted adult offenders. The establishment of the agency was a response to reports commissioned shortly after the election of the Cain Government from Mr J.D. Henderson, a U.S. prison consultant and Commander P.H. Bennett of the Victoria Police. These reports concluded that Victoria's prison system was long overdue for re-development.
The Office of Corrections and the position of the Director General of Corrections were established initially by an Order-in-Council gazetted on 17 August 1983. Establishment of the agency and the responsibilities of the Director General were legislatively confirmed and defined when the Community Welfare Services (Director General of Corrections) Act 1983 (No.9966) came into operation on 22 November 1983 and full operational responsibility was achieved on 1 February 1984 when the agency assumed responsibility for the delivery of all community based correctional programs. The Director General of Corrections initially reported to the Minister of Community Welfare Services.
The new agency consolidated two functions previously exercised by the Department of Community Welfare Services. The first function, the administration of the State's prisons and attendance centres, including the provision of prisoner support/welfare services, had been the responsibility of the Correctional Services Division, Department of Community Welfare Services. Control of the second function, the provision of a community based corrections program covering probation, parole and community service orders, had been vested in a Correctional Field Services Unit, within the Regional Services Division. All responsibility for the provision of services for juvenile offenders remained with the Department and now reside with the Department of Community Services.
To meet its responsibilities, the Office of Corrections was structured into four divisions.
The Prisons Division
This division is responsible for the management of Victoria's prisons, prisoner classification and delivery of prison programs including prisoner support services. Responsibility for all prison manufacturing and farming industries is vested in the Victorian Prison Industries Commission which was established in 1984. The Prisons Division essentially continued the work of the previous Correctional Services Division, although responsibility for the state's attendance centres was transferred to the new Community Based Corrections Division.
The Community Based Corrections Division
This division is responsible for the operation of all non-custodial programs, that is the administration of all punishments which do not involve prison detention (for example probation attendance centres and community service orders) and the rehabilitation of persons released from prison detention through parole or pre-release orders. The work of this division is largely carried out in Attendance/Correction Centres scattered throughout the State which also serve as the agency's regional offices. The administration of parole and pre-release orders is undertaken in close co-operation with the Adult Parole Board which operates as an independent agency.
The remaining two Divisions supported the work of these Divisions. The Strategic Services Division consisted of specialist units responsible for planning and review, building development, information systems, policy and program development, research, legislative development and public relations. The Management Services Division provides the agency with the necessary administrative, training, financial, management and other support services. The Strategic Services Division was incorporated into this Division during 1986.
In 1985 responsibility for this agency was transferred to the Attorney-General's portfolio (VRG 19), and since 1987 has been the responsibility of the Minister responsible for Corrections (VRG 93).
The Office of Corrections is currently responsible for the administration of the following Acts:
Penalties and Sentences Act 1985
Community Welfare Services (Director General of Corrections) Act 1983
Community Welfare Services (Pre-Release Program) Act 1983
Parole Orders (Transfer) Act 1983
Prisoners (Interstate Transfer) Act 1983
Corrections Act 1986.
Location of Records
A few records of this agency are in the custody of the P.R.O., see list below. Some records relating to correctional services are listed in the List of Holdings second edition 1985, section 3.4.7.