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Leaving prison

Information for Aboriginal people and their families to assist with leaving jail and returning to the community.

Support before release

Transition programs provide support and information for people who are preparing to leave prison. They aim to provide, information, support and skills to help manage the transition back into the community.

Prisoners who have complex needs may be eligible to participate in an Intensive Support Program (ITSP). Prisoners can access these programs up to 6 months before they are due to be released and can continue to be supported for up to 12 months after release.

For women

The Women's Integrated Support Program (WISP) is a voluntary program for women who are being released. It is delivered by the Jesuit Social Services. The program is not available to prisoners who are on remand. To be considered eligible for WISP the prisoner must:

  • be at increased risk of reoffending
  • have multiple and complex transitional needs
  • be willing to participate voluntarily.

The program is not specifically designed for women from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds although these women often participate in this program.

If the applicants are eligible support workers will make an assessment and develop a case plan to provide tailored support to meet their individual needs.

Prisoners who are interested in applying should ask prison staff to assist them.

See 'Women's integrated Support Program' in Corrections, Prisons and Parole—Transition programs.

For men

Link Out is a voluntary intensive support program for men who are preparing to leave prison. The services are provided by:

  • Jesuit Social Services
  • Australian Community Support Organisation (ACSO)
  • Victorian Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (VACRO)
  • Stepping Up Consortium.

The program is not exclusively designed for Aboriginal prisoners however it does include support for cultural matters.

To be considered eligible for Link Out support program the prisoner must:

  • be at increased risk of reoffending
  • have multiple and complex transitional needs
  • be willing to participate voluntarily.

The prisoner can apply for support from this program at any time during their prison sentence. Prisoners on remand are not eligible. Prison staff will be able to assist the prisoner with their application.

If the applicants are eligible support workers will make an assessment and develop a case plan to provide tailored support to meet their individual needs.

See 'Link Out' in Corrections, Prisons and Parole—Transition programs.

Support after release

Konnect is a voluntary program specially designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners who are most at risk of re-offending when they leave prison. It is staffed by Aboriginal people or those who are experienced in dealing with people from Aboriginal backgrounds. Konnect provides a culturally-specific response to help men and women of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who identify as members of those communities.

A prisoner can apply for assistance from Konnect by filling out a referral form. A prison Aboriginal Wellbeing and Liaison officer will be able to assist with this.

A person can apply at any time after they have been sentenced. The service is not available to people who are on remand. The support begins when the prisoner has been released.

Konnect can provide tailored support for a number of issues, including:

  • connecting with community
  • being re-united with family
  • drugs and alcohol
  • education, training and employment
  • housing
  • cultural matters
  • healthcare and mental health
  • disabilities and acquired brain injury
  • legal issues.

Support for young people

Aboriginal Children Family Justice Program

Barreng Moorop is a 3 year pilot program developed to help Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander young people aged between 10 and 14 years old who have been identified as being further involved in the justice system. This contact could have happened because of their parent's experience or because of their own misadventure.

The program aims to address the underlying issues of the young person's criminal behaviour including:

  • family dysfunction
  • mental health issues
  • trans-generational trauma
  • attachment difficulties
  • intellectual disabilities
  • experiences of family violence or abuse
  • poverty
  • lack of engagement with the education system.

The program involves all family members and Elders. It is currently only available for people who live in the North West Metropolitan Area. Other Aboriginal support organisations are very likely to be involved in partnership with Barreng Marrop.

The program will may assist the family to access relevant welfare, housing, family and education services.

Referrals will happen following a D24 notification or where other organisations identify that a young person is at risk. After a notification is made Jesuit Social Services will contact the young person and their family to find out if they are all willing to participate in the program.

More information

Reference

Konnect Transitional Support program

Konnect is a voluntary program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners who are preparing to be released from prison.

See 'Konnect' under 'Intensive Transitional Support Programs' in Corrections, Prisons and Parole—Transition programs.

Jesuit Social Services

This organisation works in partnership with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency to run the Barreng Moorop program for young Aboriginal people. The service also runs the Konnect post release program providing culturally specific support for Aboriginal men and women.

See Jesuit Social Services.

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