Ms Rosalie Martin1, Mr Ian Thomas2
1Chatter Matters Tasmania, Hobart, Australia, 2Tasmania Prison Service
Excellent collaboration supports the well-being and development of the collaborating parties whilst simultaneously progressing mutual goals. Relational trust between collaborating organisations and their representatives is essential. Competing objectives increase the challenge to fine collaboration. Prisons, by their nature, have many competing objectives: security vs personal liberty, challenging vs generous behaviour, routine vs novel interactions.
Presented by the Director of the Tasmania Prison Service (TPS) and a director of two NGOs – Chatter Matters Tasmania and the Onesimus Foundation – this paper discusses the pitfalls and triumphs of successful program provision for support of children and family relationships within the Tasmania prison context.
Both NGOs began their relationship with the TPS with a single individual volunteering skill to support prisoner development. The TPS identified alignment of this work with its own strategic goals for prisoner development, and fostered these relationships.
Growing trust permitted creation of partnerships which now bring paradigm-shifting innovation through programs that support prisoners to maintain and develop connections with their children and families.
This paper describes the enablement and development of processes of collaboration and relational trust from the points of view of both the TPS and the NGOs. It seeks to highlight how small, nimble organisations in a state where tipping-point can be reached suddenly, hope to make game-changing advances in evidence-based practice. It also describes the projects that the organisations are undertaking to support desistance from crime through parent-child attachment and educational engagement.
Rosalie Martin is a criminologist, facilitator of reflective dialogue, and clinical speech pathologist of 34 years. In 2013 Rosalie founded a charity, Chatter Matters Tasmania, to bring literacy and parent-child attachment programs to Tasmania’s Risdon Prison. She was awarded 2017 Tasmanian Australian of the Year for the work she began at the prison. Rosalie is grateful for the platform this recognition has given to promote the value of kind communication in evidence-based service delivery.
Ian has worked in prisons for 32 years. He started his career as a Prison Officer in 1986 at Brixton Prison in South London working in a number of prisons whilst earning may career advancements. He also worked in Nigeria for one month on behalf of the British Foreign Office. He has managed two prisons in the UK.
From late 2012 he was the General Manager (Governor) of Port Phillip Prison in Melbourne, Victoria, a prison run by G4S on behalf of the Victorian Government. In January 2017 he commenced the role of Director of Prisons, Tasmania Prison Service (TPS).
Ian brings an acute awareness of the challenges of running prisons and a significant history of delivery and achievements whilst managing contemporary corrective services. Ian acknowledges the hard work from many people in order to continue delivery of effective contemporary corrective services in Tasmania. He continues to lead progress and improvement initiatives that creates a safe and secure environment for all whilst encouraging prisoners to address their offending behaviour, thereby contributing to a safer Tasmania.