Griffith and QCS collaborate on innovative training models

The Griffith Criminology Institute will partner with Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) to develop a new training curriculum, which will position the state as leaders in evidence-based corrections.

The new training program will fulfil key recommendations of the Queensland Parole System Review (QPSR) to review and implement training for Community Corrections officers, investing in reforms to Queensland’s correctional system.

Griffith’s Dr Lacey Schaefer said the University was excited to be joining forces with QCS on such an impactful project.

“The training packages being developed adhere to evidence-based best practices in corrections, bringing officers the knowledge and skills that they will require to be advanced practitioners,” Dr Schaefer said.

“The professional development opportunities this brings for officers will have important consequences for their wellbeing and performance, with subsequent benefits for offenders and their communities.”

As a sought-after community corrections consultant, Dr Schaefer is well-placed to develop the training packages for QCS staff. She has worked for several years designing correctional interventions, providing training for corrections agencies, and developing and administering offender rehabilitation programs.

Dr Schaefer previously designed and administered the Environmental Corrections trial and the Triple-S: Social Supports in Supervision trial in partnership with Queensland Corrective Services. These projects produced recidivism reductions and improved client satisfaction.

The development of the new training curriculums for existing and commencing staff draws on the lessons learned from these community corrections initiatives, which are based on the research evidence-base of what works best in community corrections case management.

Dr Schaefer is eager to see the results of evaluations of the impacts of the new training packages.

“Bringing the research evidence into the daily practices of Community Corrections officers, I am confident that these training reforms will have several positive effects for Queensland,” Dr Schaefer said.

QPSR program lead, Deputy Commissioner Community Corrections and Specialist Operations, Paul Stewart said the partnership would ensure QCS officers were well equipped to undertake their critical role in crime prevention and ensuring community safety.

“This curriculum is an investment in our exceptional and dedicated workforce, who work with the most difficult and challenging members of society every day to keep our community safe.

“Griffith University is recognised as a world leader in the criminology field and has the largest community of criminologists in Australia, including many of our own officers.”

With approximately 80 academic and research staff members aligned with the Griffith Criminology Institute (GCI), the project has scope to draw from a deep breadth of experience and resources. Many GCI members are recognised nationally and internationally as leaders in their fields, with a range of awards and research grants reflecting their strengths.

“The University will work alongside the Community Corrections Training team at the QCS Academy, whose role is to encourage superior community corrections practices that enhance public safety and prevent reoffending,” Deputy Commissioner Stewart said.

The project will support the effective case management of offenders through a new evidence-based practice curriculum, including structured on-the-job training, specialised education for specific roles, and professional development.

Although the project is focused on Community Corrections, many of the developed training modules will benefit officers across the agency.

The new training curriculum is expected to start in 2021.