Fewer Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system

Goal

2.4

Fewer Aboriginal people return to the criminal justice system

Outcomes

2.4.1

People build resilience whilst in contact with the justice system 

2.4.2

Drivers of people’s offending are addressed whilst in contact with the justice system 

2.4.3

People are supported to transition from the justice system and reintegrate into their communities

 

There is a high level of “churn” amongst Aboriginal people already involved in the justice system – meaning that a high number of offenders can be expected to re-offend and return to prison. The transition from prison back to the community is the time of highest re-offending risk with the majority of re-offending occurring within one year of release. A lack of transition supports is contributing to this risk. Barriers to gaining employment and housing are two of the greatest risks to successful reintegration. The barriers to employment for exiting prisoners are serious and include their criminal record, lack of skills, lack of recent work experience and poor education. Compounded by a lack of stable housing, these two factors combine to quickly produce circumstances likely to lead to re-offending.

When people are under justice supervision there is an opportunity to work with them to address their offending behaviours. Behaviour change programs for Aboriginal people need to be culturally safe and culturally specific, and made widely available in all parts of the system. Rehabilitation programs for moderate-risk and high-risk Aboriginal offenders, especially in the areas of violence intervention and alcohol and drug misuse, are particularly required.

 

Strategies

Icon indicating this strategy is rehabilitation.

Address underlying causes of offending through healing and trauma-informed approaches that explore the intergenerational experiences of people affected by violence, strengthen protective factors and increase coping strategies.

Icon indicating this strategy is rehabilitation.

Address environmental drivers of offending by delivering transition services that provide comprehensive and effective supports for people leaving the justice system, such as links to stable and safe housing and referrals to culturally specific employment programs.

Icon indicating this strategy is rehabilitation.

Use cultural strengthening approaches to build resilience to setbacks, and to develop strategies for dealing with hardships.

Icon indicating this strategy is rehabilitation.

Address individual drivers of offending while in custodial environments such as drug and alcohol use and mental health.

Icon indicating this strategy is rehabilitation.

Work with families, children, young people and communities to ensure good transition from Youth Justice back to community, including exploring family healing programs and linking children and young people from youth justice into education/training.

Icon indicating this strategy is rehabilitation.

Establish a specialist response to address the significant growth in the Aboriginal un-sentenced prisoner population with a strong focus on holistic supports and cultural strengthening.

Icon indicating this strategy is rehabilitation.

Support Aboriginal people in, or at risk of entering the community corrections system for whom unaddressed mental illness is a significant contributing factor.

 

Existing initiatives

  • Kaka Wangity Wangin-Mirrie Cultural Programs delivered by ACCOs for Aboriginal people in prisons or on Community Correction Orders.
  • Community-based demonstration project to improve mental health outcomes for Aboriginal people with moderate to severe mental illness who are in or at risk of entering community corrections.
  • Prison Education Programs to improve post-prison education and employment opportunities.
  • Continuity of Aboriginal Health Care Pilot to support people exiting prison to access health care services in the community.
  • Transitional Housing Project to establish transition accommodation for Aboriginal people.
  • Balit Murrup initiatives to increase the workforce available to deliver culturally responsive, trauma-informed services that can address the social and emotional wellbeing and mental health needs of Aboriginal people, such as Clinical and Therapeutic Mental Health Positions in ACCOs, and an Aboriginal Mental Health Traineeship Program.

New opportunities

Over five years we will

Elders mentoring in Youth Justice Centres
Not yet commenced

Elders mentoring in Youth Justice Centres

Provide mentoring programs and in-reach Elder support for Aboriginal children and young people in Youth Justice Centres.
Elders Mentoring Program
In development

Elders Mentoring Program

Strengthen pre and post release cultural supports for Aboriginal adults in prison including an Elders Mentoring Program.
Multi-systemic Therapy Pilot
Not yet commenced

Multi-systemic Therapy Pilot

Explore the development of a culturally-responsive Multi-systemic Therapy (MST) pilot initiative that addresses the multiple determinants of antisocial behaviour by Aboriginal young people
Statewide Indigenous Arts in Prison and Community Program
Underway

Statewide Indigenous Arts in Prison and Community Program

Continue to support the Statewide Indigenous Arts in Prison and Community Program delivered by The Torch which supports cultural strengthening and economic development opportunities for Aboriginal people as emerging artists.
Time to Work Employment Services
Not yet commenced

Time to Work Employment Services

Deliver the Time to Work Employment Service to Aboriginal people in prison to provide the support they need to prepare to find employment and reintegrate into the community upon their release from prison.

Future possibilities

We will continue to work with Aboriginal communities to consider

Culturally appropriate, holistic health care in prisons
Future consideration

Culturally appropriate, holistic health care in prisons

Consider culturally appropriate, holistic health care models in prisons including:
- Extending the Continuity of Health Care Pilot and the Continuity of Care strategy to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people in custody and post-release
- Cultural safety training for health service providers in the adult and youth justice systems
- Trauma and grief informed health services in prisons
- An Aboriginal Healing Unit.
Meeting the needs of remandees
Future consideration

Meeting the needs of remandees

Consider ways to address the specific needs of Aboriginal people in prison who are un-sentenced and those with short sentences.
Opportunities to work and train on Country
Future consideration

Opportunities to work and train on Country

Consider Employment options for Aboriginal people exiting the criminal justice system, including opportunities to develop skills and undertake training on Country.