Where we are up to
Corrections Victoria engaged Wan Yaari Aboriginal Consultancy in July 2020 to commence delivery of the Wadamba Prison to Work Program. Wadamba provides Aboriginal people aged 18-35 on remand at Dame Phyllis Frost Centre and Melbourne Remand Centre with access to employment services, career guidance, and cultural supports while in custody, as well a post release.
Funding was secured through the 2021-22 State Budget to support program delivery, as well as a formal program evaluation, until June 2023. Since program commencement, there have been 33 people provided with pre-release employment support and 22 people placed into employment following their release from prison.
The Time to Work Employment Service (TWES), delivered by Victorian Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (VACRO), is a Commonwealth funded initiative, which commenced in 2018 and is funded for delivery until June 2023. It provides pre-release employment support to sentenced Aboriginal prisoners across all Victorian prisons, except for Melbourne Assessment Prison and Metropolitan Remand Centre. VACRO currently employs three Engagement Workers, with recruitment underway to increase staffing to a minimum of seven workers to enable full coverage of all prison locations.
From December 2021 to May 2022, 147 sentenced Aboriginal prisoners were engaged in the TWES:
- 49 completed a transition plan
- 23 have undertaken an Employment Services Assessment
- prior to release, 10 participants were provided a facilitated handover to an Australian government WorkForce Australia provider, and
- a further 15 were referred post-release.
The Commonwealth is currently undertaking an evaluation of this program.