Post-Imprisonment: Current & recent projects

Current Projects

2015 – 2017, SSHRC Partnership Development Grant, Prisons Transparency Project. Co-investigators: Dawn Moore (Carleton University), Gillian Balfour (Trent University), Kelly Hannah-Moffat (University of Toronto), Joane Martel (University of Laval), Debra Parkes (University of Winnipeg), and Sarah Turnbull (University of Oxford). This collaborative project explores the experiences of incarcerated peoples in Canada with an eye to human rights concerns using an innovative participatory action research methodology. By partnering with formerly incarcerated people and the direct service agencies working with those currently held in custody and recently released from custody, this methodological approach aims to: (1) benefit community partners by providing them with opportunity to achieve relevant outcomes for their direct service work such as research reports and new networks with other service providers; and (2) empower formerly incarcerated people as experts on the prison/detention systems either as a member of the steering committee or as interviewees.

2010-2016, National Health and Medical Research Council grant, Social and Cultural Resilience of Aboriginal Mothers in prisonChief Investigators: Prof Elizabeth Sullivan (UNSW), Prof Juanita Sherwood (UTS), Jocelyn Jones (Curtin), Prof Eileen Baldry, Prof Tony Butler (UNSW), A/Prof Marisa Gilles (CUCRH), Prof Micahel Levy (ANUMS). This is a four-year project based in New South Wales (NSW) and Western Australia (WA). The project is known by its acronym, SCREAM, in NSW and by its full title in WA. The project is a mixed methods study including a social and emotional wellbeing questionnaire, in-depth interviews, focus group interviews, analysis of policy and procedural documents and ongoing stakeholder consultation. The data collection for the project is primarily based in NSW and WA prisons with a female population. The outcomes of the research include specific recommendations for models of care for Aboriginal women in prison and post-release, increased capacity among Aboriginal female researchers in the field of public health and prison health, and recommendations for professional development and skills training among health and correctional workers. Opportunities for early intervention to prevent fragmentation and disintegration of the family, grief, stigma, financial hardship, and the psychological trauma which leads to offending behaviour are identified, with the research providing a platform for policy and practice change.

2015-2016 – Criminology Research Advisory Council (CRAC), awarded a Criminology Research Grant, Building an effective community-based throughcare approach for Aboriginal offenders in Australia, Chief Investigators: Dr. Hilde Tubex and Prof Harry Blagg, University of Western Australia, and Dr. John Rynne, Griffith University. The aim of this research is to identify the needs of Indigenous male and female offenders on (supervised or full time) release to develop effective community-based throughcare strategies. The selected settings are Broome (WA) and Tiwi Islands (NT). The strategies will be built on the knowledge and experiences of Elders and Indigenous people in these settings, as well as services working with these communities. To ensure a culturally appropriate approach the methodology includes Appreciative Inquiry and yarning. The research will result in strategies for government services to enhance reintegration in Indigenous communities and to reduce the high rates of recidivism.

2015-2017, ARC Linkage Grant, A future beyond the wall: Improving post-release employment outcomes for people leaving prison. Chief Investigators: Prof Baldry, Assoc Prof Leanne Dowse, Dr David Bright, Dr Jesse Cale (UNSW), Prof Joe Graffam, Prof Andrew Day, Prof P MacGillivray (Deakin), Dr Margaret Giles (Edith Cowan). This project surveys, describes and analyses cross jurisdictional prisoner vocational education, training and employment programs in all Australian states and territories, and provides outcomes showing the relative effects of particular programs on reoffending for all sentenced prisoners and for subsets of sentenced prisoners including Indigenous prisoners and prisoners with mental and/or cognitive impairment. Case studies of employment assistance programs servicing ex prisoners are also being developed and examined. The provision of vocational education and training and employment pathways which prepare prisoners for post release employment has been identified as a cost-effective element in addressing recidivism, however the relative importance of education and training, and work experience, is not entirely clear. Some research suggests it is prior and in-prison employment rather than education and training that makes a difference. Other studies suggest that transitional employment programs that develop work-related skills reduce recidivism even if sustained employment on release is not achieved. What has not been established is a causal relationship between in-prison vocational education, training and employment, and recidivism. This study addresses this question with national data from Australian correctional systems.

Completed Projects

2012, Melbourne City Mission, ‘Step Out’: Youth at Rish of Reoffending’ Mentoring Initiative. Chief Investigators: Dr. Marie Segrave, Dr Bree Carlton and Dr Shelley Mallett in partnership with Melbourne City Mission, Office of Housing, Vic Urban, Victoria Women’s Housing Association, YWCA, and Women’s Housing Limited prepared ‘The Cairnlea Housing Model Evaluation’ for Australian Red Cross. An evaluation was conducted of a small long-term housing support project operating in Melbourne for formerly imprisoned women. The Report clearly detailed the significant benefits to women and their families of long-term, stable, secure, high quality housing.