Conjugal visitation in Australia, the policy and its practice: A study into the use of conjugal visitation in Australia

R. Katona-Staindl

This paper presents an overview of the contemporary practice of conjugal and family visitation practices across Australia. Drawing on elite interviews with Members of Parliament, Ministers and lead prison reform advocates the current approaches are understood and contextualised. Responding to issues of public concern with prisoner benefits, the regime of visits is scrutinised. The visits are recognised within the elite interviews for their use in improving prisoner rehabilitation and thus reducing reoffending rates. They also help to lessen secondary victimisation of families and friends and have been noted for their ability to improve prison management. This research outlines and identifies the varied operation of visits within an Australian context. In particular, focus is place on the category of offenders visits are available to, how frequently visits occur and other practical and operational issues in order to ensure an effective and defensible visitation regime is utilised.

Biography

In October I completed my Honours year at Monash University. My Honours thesis looked at the policy and practice of conjugal visitation in Australia. I hope to study further, potentially expanding on my Honours research in the future.

Conjugal visitation in Australia, the policy and its practice: A study into the use of conjugal visitation in Australia

R. Katona-Staindl

This paper presents an overview of the contemporary practice of conjugal and family visitation practices across Australia. Drawing on elite interviews with Members of Parliament, Ministers and lead prison reform advocates the current approaches are understood and contextualised. Responding to issues of public concern with prisoner benefits, the regime of visits is scrutinised. The visits are recognised within the elite interviews for their use in improving prisoner rehabilitation and thus reducing reoffending rates. They also help to lessen secondary victimisation of families and friends and have been noted for their ability to improve prison management. This research outlines and identifies the varied operation of visits within an Australian context. In particular, focus is place on the category of offenders visits are available to, how frequently visits occur and other practical and operational issues in order to ensure an effective and defensible visitation regime is utilised.

Biography

In October I completed my Honours year at Monash University. My Honours thesis looked at the policy and practice of conjugal visitation in Australia. I hope to study further, potentially expanding on my Honours research in the future.

What really works? A comparison of post-release service delivery models in Melbourne and New York City

S. Theerathitiwong

The University of Melbourne, sthe@student.unimelb.edu.au

In recent years, a significant increase in female members of ethnic minority groups in the Australian and American custodial population has been observed. This observed growth subsequently results in an increase in those returning to the community, as well as those accessing available post-release services upon their return. While existing literature on prisoner re-entry readily highlights the unique needs of these women, it largely does not delve into their detailed experiences, and how their interactions with post-release services influence these experiences.

Drawing on narrative interviews conducted with formerly-incarcerated women and post-release support staff in Melbourne and New York City, the paper outlines two distinct models of post-release service delivery: a Re-entry Community Model (RCM) and a Client Service Model (CSM). In the paper, key elements of the RCM and the CSM are discussed – including, funding resources, service delivery priorities, model culture, and responsibilities and expectations. Moreover, the experiences of formerly-incarcerated women accessing each of these models will also be presented. It is argued that the model of post-release service delivery can act to either alleviate or compound on the already-complex and unique challenges these women face when returning home from prison.

Biography

Sitthana Theerathitiwong is a final-year PhD candidate in criminology at the University of Melbourne. Her research interests are in the incarceration and post-release experiences of women and other minority groups. For her PhD research, she has conducted a cross-jurisdictional study comparing the reentry experiences of ethnic minority women in Melbourne and New York City. She is currently employed as a forensic research officer and data management lead in Melbourne.

Transcending the prison walls: The outcomes of the inaugural Australian Inside Out Prison Exchange Program

M. Martinovic1*, M Liddell2

1 RMIT University
2 RMIT University

*corresponding author: Marietta.martinovic@rmit.edu.au

The first Australian Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program (IOPEP) was delivered at two Victorian prisons – Dame Phyllis Frost Centre (DPFC) and Marngoneet Correctional Centre (MCC) in 2015. As part of this program at each prison, 15 carefully selected Justice and Legal studies students (referred to as outside students) and 15 incarcerated individuals (referred to as inside students) together undertook a semester long undergraduate subject. The subject matter was ‘comparative criminal justice systems.’ The 16 week long IOPEP had the following objectives:

  • To develop a classroom environment where students listen and respect each other;
  • To encourage students to develop critical thinking and collaborative problem-solving; and
  • To empower students to become social change agents.

A few sources of student feedback were used to assess the outcomes of the IOPEP. These included pre-test and post-test anonymous student surveys and four focus groups. The results have shown significant benefits to both inside and outside students, and that ‘prison walls’ were ‘transcended’ as students felt like they were in a ‘university classroom’.

Biography

Dr Marietta Martinovic is a Lecturer in Justice and Legal studies at RMIT University. Her research interests include electronic monitoring and teaching in prisons. She has delivered the first Australian Inside Out Prison Exchange Program, which simultaneously engages university students and prisoners in university education, and has been leading a Think Tank program in a prison, which has been doing advocacy work.

Measuring empathy: Arguments for the development of multiple tests of empathy

Dr Tracey Woolrych

University of Wollongong, woolrych@uow.edu.au

There is a wealth of evidence indicating that increases in empathy correlate with decreases antisocial behaviours.  As such, empathy training is often included in rehabilitation programs, most of which involve “Empathy Groups’ to address issues such as accountability and victim-specific empathy.   Empathy based treatments have been used with sex offenders, child molesters, anti-social youths, and male domestic violence offenders.  Dispositional empathy measures are the primary method for assessing empathic capacity, while the accuracy with which other’s emotion cues (affective empathic accuracy) is not assessed.   Empathy is a complex set of processes requiring a range of assessments to establish a complete picture of empathic deficits in offenders.  This paper examines the need for multiple empathy assessments, and presents a model of empathy disposition and empathic accuracy which will highlight the pitfalls of relying on only one measure of empathy to make rehabilitation program decisions.   It also critiques a range of empathic disposition and accuracy measures, arguing that more easily administered and reliable tests of empathic accuracy need to be developed specifically for a prison-testing environment.

Biography

Tracey is an early career researcher focusing on empathic accuracy deficits.  Having won a University Medal at Murdoch University, she is now an associate lecturer at the University of Wollongong continuing her research into measures of empathic accuracy.  The goal of this research is to develop a range of empathy tests to be used with offenders to help inform rehabilitation program decisions.  Other interest areas include emotion recognition and factors that influence both empathy and emotion recognition processes.

Measuring empathy: Arguments for the development of multiple tests of empathy

Dr Tracey Woolrych

University of Wollongong, woolrych@uow.edu.au

There is a wealth of evidence indicating that increases in empathy correlate with decreases antisocial behaviours.  As such, empathy training is often included in rehabilitation programs, most of which involve “Empathy Groups’ to address issues such as accountability and victim-specific empathy.   Empathy based treatments have been used with sex offenders, child molesters, anti-social youths, and male domestic violence offenders.  Dispositional empathy measures are the primary method for assessing empathic capacity, while the accuracy with which other’s emotion cues (affective empathic accuracy) is not assessed.   Empathy is a complex set of processes requiring a range of assessments to establish a complete picture of empathic deficits in offenders.  This paper examines the need for multiple empathy assessments, and presents a model of empathy disposition and empathic accuracy which will highlight the pitfalls of relying on only one measure of empathy to make rehabilitation program decisions.   It also critiques a range of empathic disposition and accuracy measures, arguing that more easily administered and reliable tests of empathic accuracy need to be developed specifically for a prison-testing environment.

Biography

Tracey is an early career researcher focusing on empathic accuracy deficits.  Having won a University Medal at Murdoch University, she is now an associate lecturer at the University of Wollongong continuing her research into measures of empathic accuracy.  The goal of this research is to develop a range of empathy tests to be used with offenders to help inform rehabilitation program decisions.  Other interest areas include emotion recognition and factors that influence both empathy and emotion recognition processes.

Compromised power, dialogical legitimacy, and negotiated order in a Ukrainian prison

A. Symkovych

University of Johannesburg, asymkovych@uj.ac.za

Although previous research in non-Western societies demonstrates that underfunded and understaffed prisons generate a much more negotiated order than that described in the West, generally this research has omitted the role of legitimacy in power negotiations between prisoners and authorities. Drawing on a semi-ethnographic study, this article offers empirical evidence of the dialogical nature of legitimacy in a case study Ukrainian prison. Data show that a legitimacy dialogue between power-holders and their subjects is not necessarily sequential; officers lay their legitimacy claims in anticipation of, not only in reaction to, their subjects’ response. In the Ukrainian context a law-based order would be costly to maintain and difficult to legitimise. Conceptualised as peace in daily operations by both prisoners and officers, order results from avoidance and under-enforcement of official rules. Whilst inherent power asymmetry has not vanished in Ukraine where historically the powerful have oppressed and subjugated ordinary citizens, both officers and prisoners engage in a legitimacy dialogue as moral agents; their legitimacy claims and responses account for both utilitarian and moral consequences of power.

Biography

Department of Sociology, University of Johannesburg

The clothes maketh the man: Uniforms, interaction and agency in prisons

Dr Anna Eriksson 

Monash University, anna.eriksson@monash.edu

This paper will focus on the role of clothes and dress codes in prisons (staff and prisoners; uniforms or own clothes) and the impact this have on personal identify and agency; interpersonal relationships within groups; staff/prisoner relationships, and pathways for reintegration. This paper draws on 200 interviews that were collected from 14 prisons in Norway and Australia. This research clearly shows that clothes play a major role in identity construction, us/them divisions, and rehabilitation/reintegration work, which will be discussed in conjunction with suggestions for pathways and obstacles for reform of Australian prison practices.

Biography

Dr Eriksson is a previous ARC DECRA holder on the topic of comparative penology. She is a Senior Lecturer at Monash University and is currently undertaking research on prison and probation practices, ABI and neuro-disability in the criminal justice system, and restorative justice. She is the Director of the Imprisonment Observatory: http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/imprisonmentobservatory/

Prisonization: Causative factors and its impact in rehabilitating accidental offenders in Indonesia

Dr  A. Angkasa

Dean and Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law Universitas Jenderal Soedirman, Purwokerto – Indonesia, drangkasa_64@yahoo.com

This research is about the causative factors of prisonization and its impact in rehabilitating the inmates, more specifically accidental offenders, who are currently imprisoned at selected prisons in Indonesia.  Prisonization means  the process of acculturation and assimilation which the inmate undergoes in becoming acquainted with the prison world.

Theoretically speaking, prisonization has distracted the objectives of imprisonment as rehabilitation and resocialization program.   Prisonization has negatively affected ‘first time offenders’ or accidental offenders, since the prison, in Indonesia, has been well-known as a place for dissemination and contamination of crime values. Not just as a place for rehabilitation. At prison, the recidivists easily interact with accidental offenders, mutually share and teach their personal knowledge and experiences.

Eventually, through acculturation and assimilation process, after spending certain time in prison as prisoner, instead of rehabilitation, the inmates have learned a lot about the crime, prisons’ customs and cultures.

This research was empirically conducted in six different prisons in Indonesia, which were purposively selected.  All of selected prisons are over-populated and inhabited by various inmates with various degrees of crimes and term of imprisonment. The research employs qualitative method.

The research found those prisonizations were really happened at the prisons being studied.  The forms of prisonization are bullying, categorization, group fighting, sexual attack, extortion, applying special languages, and tattooing.

Prisonization took place because of various severe deprivation experienced by the inmates. Those deprivations are deprivation of freedom, services, goods, heterosexual relationship and deprivation of security. These kinds of deprivations are experienced by all inmates, more specifically; the inmates who inhabited over-populated prison.

To overcome these matters, the researcher suggests that the legal authority should implement restorative justice, implement conditional imprisonment, and build more prisons with bigger spaces and better facilities as well as improving laws, law enforcement officers and legal culture related to penitentiary.

Keywords

Prisonization, deprivation, Indonesia, over-populated

Biography

Dr Angkasa is currently a Dean and Assistant Professor at Department of Criminal Law, Faculty of Law Universitas Jenderal Soedirman, Purwokerto – Indonesia.  Obtained PhD (in Victimology/ Criminal Law) from Universitas Diponegoro, Semarang   –  Indonesia. Teaching subjects :  Penology, Criminology, Victimology and Criminal Law

“There was no-one else”: Reflections of family members caring for children of incarcerated parents

C. Flynn1*, C. Trotter1

1 Monash University – Department of Social Work, catherine.flynn@monash.edu

It is clear that numbers of parents being imprisoned in Australia are increasing, as are the number of children affected. Yet this group remains hidden, and relatively few children and families, including carers, appear to access relevant support. Limited data have been collected from statutory bodies about this group of children, and responses tend to be ad hoc and uncoordinated.

In order to examine current responses to children whose primary carers are arrested and imprisoned in Victoria and New South Wales, this multi-method study gathered primary data from 151 imprisoned primary carers, 27 carers, five children, along with 124 professional stakeholders.

This presentation focuses specifically on the views of children’s carers – outlining their experiences of contact with the police, courts and the prison system.  Carers assume care of children at all three points leading up to the parent entering prison – arrest, sentencing and imprisonment – although it is more typical for this to occur at arrest and imprisonment; in the majority of instances this is unplanned and in response to a crisis.

Findings further indicate that most children are cared for informally by extended family. These carers, however, are unsupported and often unable to sustain placements, resulting in considerable instability for children.  Targeted follow-up services for children and carers are needed.

A more just application of adult justice requires that we acknowledge and respond to the unseen recipients of correctional and prison practices, including dependent children of prisoners, and their carers.  Taking a wider view will ensure mitigation of the unanticipated consequences of current punitive responses.

Biography

Dr Catherine Flynn is a senior lecturer in the Social Work Department at Monash University.  Her core interest is in the intersection of social work and criminal justice, notably the unintended consequences of the criminal justice system.  As such her research focuses on prisoners and their children.

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