Perpetual Punishment in NSW

Dr Mindy Sotiri1
1Community Restorative Centre, Broadway, Australia

This paper will explore perpetual punishment in the context of leaving prison in NSW, with a particular focus on policies impacting on housing, employment and social connection post-imprisonment. It will argue that a confluence of discriminatory policies and practices, siloed government approaches to recidivism, and a continued over-reliance on a criminogenic RNR framework within criminal justice agencies, combine to make the possibility of genuinely building pathways outside of the criminal justice system extraordinarily difficult (regardless of the personal motivation or readiness of people at the point of release). Drawing on recent research conducted by the Community Restorative Centre (including data tracking of CRC clients post-participation in programs between 2012 and 2016) and  utilising multiple case-studies from CRC’s transitional programs, a road-map for successful reintegration will be proposed.  It is suggested that this roadmap includes; people with lived experience front and centre of conversations about ‘what works’, community led reintegration, and service delivery which transparently places the structural predictors of recidivism at the heart of service delivery design.


Mindy Sotiri (PhD, BSW) is the Director of Research, Policy and Advocacy at the Community Restorative Centre in Sydney. She has worked as a social worker, advocate, researcher and activist in the community sector for the last twenty years. For most of this time she has focused on the criminal justice system, reintegration and post-release.

Rethinking community sanctions in the C21st

Prof. Julie Stubbs1, Prof Chris Cunneen2, Prof Eileen Baldry1, Ms Melanie  Schwartz1, Prof David Brown1
1UNSW Sydney, Kensington , Australia, 2University of Technology Sydney , Sydney , Australia

Accounts of community sanctions continue to be influenced by the decarceration/net-widening debates prominent in the 1980s, and by a false dichotomy between prison and liberty.  However, within the 21st century penal landscape, the forms and uses of community sanctions appear to challenge conventional temporal, spatial and political boundaries. For instance, preventive and risk-based logics applied across the criminal justice system unsettle ideas about the timing, duration and legitimacy of forms of control, eroding constraints on pre-trial and post-release interventions. New orders combine prison-based and community- based control in distinctive ways.  Shifts in funding models and competitive tendering arrangements reshape the relationships with, and blur the boundaries between, government and non-government sectors.  This paper draws on preliminary findings from a study of community sanctions in Australia, taking these developments into account to rethink the place of community sanctions in contemporary Australia.


Julie Stubbs is a Professor and co-Director of the Centre for Crime, Law & Justice at UNSW Law School.  She is currently undertaking ARC funded research on community sanctions in Australia (with Baldry, Brown, Cunneen & Schwartz). Her recent publications include Justice reinvestment: Winding back imprisonment (Brown et al 2016) and Australian Violence (Stubbs & Tomsen 2016).

Chris Cunneen is a Professor at Jumbunna Institute  for Indigenous Education & Research. He has a national and international reputation as a leading criminologist specialising in Indigenous people and the law, juvenile justice, restorative justice, justice reinvestment, policing, penology and prison issues, and human rights. His recent books include Indigenous Criminology (Cunneen,  & Tauri 2016) and Justice reinvestment: Winding back imprisonment (Brown et al 2016).

Gambling on freedom: temporary and gradual prison release in Ukraine

Dr Anton Symkovych2
1Institute for Advanced Study, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, 2University Of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, Південно-Африканська Республіка

Most prisoners are eventually released. Many jurisdictions systematise some form of temporary release as preparation for this by facilitating, among other things, family and work-force reintegration. Temporary release can also signal the state’s alleged compassion and humanity. I will explain how Ukraine squares these noble goals with an inherent mistrust of prisoners. Furthermore, I will discuss how in their anticipation of freedom prisoners weigh the perceived risks and benefits of gradual release versus the more ‘predictable’ parole. Parole in their view entails ‘lesser’ obligations and visibility. Through examination of how some prisoners assess their personal vulnerability to risky behaviour and opt out from gradual release, I argue that prisoners, as well as the state, often deem themselves untrustworthy subjects.


Anton Symkovych is a EURAIS fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Central European University and a research associate, Sociology Department, University of Johannesburg.

Monsters in Our Midst: Exploring Regulation and Control in Communities Notified About Sex Offender Release

Miss Jordan Anderson1
1Victoria University Of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

Community notification policy and practice has expanded across the advanced liberal democracies, far beyond the initial bounds set out in Megan’s Law in the United States in 1994. In New Zealand, where notification is not legislated, communities are often informed about the presence of sex offenders in ad hoc and unpredictable ways, triggering a range of fear based responses. This paper explores the reactions of the Ōtāhuhu community to the 2018 media revelation of sixteen sex offenders residing on one street in the South Auckland suburb. Drawing from interviews with a range of community leaders, the paper considers whether the nuances of the community reaction, in particular the depth of insecurity and range of proposed ‘sensible’ solutions, are typical of lived experiences of risk control and regulation in neoliberal societies.


Jordan is currently undertaking her PhD in Criminology at the Institute of Criminology at Victoria University of Wellington. Her research focusses on risk and dangerousness in modern society, with particular attention to post-sentence regulation of sex offenders in New Zealand. Jordan’s research interests include punishment and offender regulation, sentencing, and youth justice.


Inside and Outside: Perspectives of Two Directors

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.

Hyper-masculinity or healthier masculinities? An exploration of incarcerated fathering and prison masculinities

Ms Tess Bartlett1
1Monash University, Caulfield, Australia

Previous work on prison masculinities have tended to focus on the ‘hyper-masculine’ prison environment and a prisoner’s ability to negotiate his place within the prison hierarchy. Yet masculinity is constructed in different ways, depending on social, cultural, racial and political factors. Furthermore, such excessive focus on these hyper-masculine facets of the prison environment have understated a prisoner’s ability to manage prison life. Rather than situate this paper within a hyper-masculine framework, I contend that there are indeed healthier masculinities that exist for some imprisoned men (as is the case for men outside a prison). These lie outside traditional notions of masculinity and may be witnessed, for example, when incarcerated fathers interact with their children. Drawing on the views of 39 primary carer fathers in Victoria, Australia, I focus specifically on incarcerated fathers’ experiences of visiting, fathering education and support to advance the conceptualisation of healthier prison masculinities. In doing so, I question the tendency to focus on the hyper-masculine prison narrative arguing for a more nuanced understanding of fatherhood and prison masculinities.


Tess Bartlett is a PhD candidate and research associate at the Department of Social Work, Monash University.  Through a lens of masculinity her research explores the experiences of incarcerated primary carer fathers in Victoria, Australia, at the point of arrest and imprisonment. Tess has been awarded a number of awards for her work including best presentation at the ANZSOC PECRC conference and best PhD abstract at the Victorian Postgraduate  Criminology Conference. You can connect with Tess on twitter @tscbartlett


Reconceptualising Rehabilitation in Women’s Prisons

Prof. Elaine Genders1, Prof. Elaine Player2
1University College, London (UCL), London, United Kingdom, 2King’s College, London (KCL), London, United Kingdom

The UK government’s recent indication that it wishes to see a reduction in the size of the women’s prison estate affords a timely opportunity to rethink the concept of rehabilitation for women offenders sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. Feminist criminologists campaigning for the diversion of women from custody have long argued that the pursuit of rehabilitation for women in prison is at best illusory.  Whilst we support this general stance we contend that there will remain a minority of women offenders serving long terms of imprisonment for serious offences, who are unlikely to be diverted and for whom opposition to correctional programming requires a more nuanced approach.

Our interest in reconceptualising rehabilitative regimes stems from empirical research we undertook in a prison with a dedicated unit run as a democratic therapeutic community (DTC), principally, for women serving lengthy sentences for serious violent offences.

In this paper we briefly outline the structural organisation and operating principles of this unique intervention, and detail the women’s experiences of the therapeutic regime. We argue that the organising principles informing the operation of the DTC can be distinguished from those of other treatment programmes, and that the DTC model can be defended from many of the criticisms raised by feminist scholars. The women’s DTC we studied is the only one of its kind in the UK, but we suggest it might provide a model for the development of more defensible rehabilitative regimes for this residual population.


Elaine Genders is Associate Professor of Law and Reader in Criminology at the Faculty of Laws, University College London (UCL) where she teaches criminal law, theoretical criminology, and prison ideology, policy and law. She has published in the fields of violent crime, the social meaning of legal constructs, and on various dimensions of imprisonment. Her current research focuses on gender and justice, issues of legitimacy concerning the mechanisms of criminal justice, and the state’s duty of care in respect of prisons.

Elaine Player is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Vice Dean for Students, Culture and Community in  the Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College, London. She has published in the fields of sentencing and imprisonment focusing particularly on gendered justice. Her recent publications explore the personality disorder pathway for women in England and Wales and the impact on female defendants of the sentence discount for a guilty plea.

The cost of caring: uncovering the costs for grandparents raising grandchildren with incarcerated parents

Dr Catherine Flynn1, Ms Tess Bartlett1
1Monash University Department Of Social Work, Caulfield East, Australia

In 2017, Corrections Victoria reported the daily cost of keeping a person imprisoned was $304.12. This individual approach to ‘cost’ ignores that around 50% of those in prison are parents of dependent children, and disregards the hidden costs incurred by these children’s carers. While the negative emotional, practical and social impacts of parental imprisonment on children are well established, there has been little attention paid to the experiences of those who care for them. These are typically informal carers, extended family and, most often, grandparents. This paper draws on data from an ARC funded study examining care planning for children whose primary carers were imprisoned in Victoria and New South Wales, and focuses specifically on grandparent carers and the costs associated with raising these children. To do so, qualitative data from interviews with 20 grandparent carers, along with quantitative data from 50 imprisoned parents, whose children were cared for by grandparents, are presented. Findings indicate around one-quarter of all children were placed with their grandparents. These placements commonly occurred at the point of parental arrest or imprisonment, were unplanned and in response to a crisis. Whilst findings from grandparent carers reflect some known challenges, including the cost of visiting and provision of financial support to incarcerated parents, data revealed new costs of caring such as legal fees, lost wages, changes to retirement plans, superannuation, and costs associated with healthcare. Targeted follow-up services are needed for carers to ensure that the unanticipated consequences of current punitive responses are minimised.


Catherine Flynn is a senior lecturer in the Department of Social Work at Monash University. Her core area of research is the intersection of criminal justice and social work; she also has a keen interest in the unintended consequences of criminal justice policy and practices, with a focus on children and families.

Turning a spotlight on the surging number of incarcerated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Victoria

Mrs Una Stone1
1Rmit University, Social and Global Studies Centre, Doncaster East, Australia

Worldwide the number of incarcerated women is soaring. Research in this area informs us of the specific issues around the incarceration of women, the majority of whom are single parents, and the impact which their incarceration has on their ability to reconnect with their children on release. In particular, here in Victoria, Australia, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women incarcerated has grown by 248 per cent since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody’s final report in 1991. The impact of their incarceration has a long term intergenerational effect on them, their families and their communities. Such effects include losing their children, their homes, their jobs and disconnection from family and friends. This in turn facilitates the cultural disconnection of their children. With the lack of government commitment to both the Redfern Statement (2016) and the Uluru statement (2017) it appears that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s voices continue to fall on deaf ears. This paper will examine the key drivers and underlying issues behind the rising number of incarcerated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Victoria and will explore what interventions have taken place to address this contentious issue.


Una Stone has lectured at RMIT since 2005. She graduated Masters (by Research) in 2013 with her thesis titled ‘Mothering inside and outside prison’. She is now writing her PhD on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s incarceration in regional Victoria. Her other research interests include violence against women, incarcerated women and the colonisation of Australia.

“Out here I’m not living”: The challenges of staying on “the straight and narrow” post release in New Zealand

Dr Bronwyn Morrison1, Ms Jill Bowman1
1Department Of Corrections, Northland, New Zealand

In 2017, there were over 8,900 people released from New Zealand prisons. Of these, almost one fifth had spent at least 12 months in prison. On average, almost half of those released from prison reoffend within 12 months of their release, with the majority doing so within the first six months after leaving prison. To better understand what helps and hinders people to “go straight” following release, the Department of Corrections completed a small-scale longitudinal study in which 127 prisoners were interviewed a month prior to release. Of these, 97 were subsequently re-interviewed four to six months post release, and 38 were interviewed a third time a year following their original release. A striking finding from the research was the considerable challenges these people faced in pursuit of a “white-picket fence-kind-of-lifestyle” and the fact that, whilst not necessarily “getting on”, most were nevertheless “hanging in there” and desisting in the face of (often considerable) adversity. Drawing on all three rounds of interviews, this paper will discuss the key challenges people faced in “going straight”, how these were overcome, and with what effect. In doing so, it will consider the role “desistance identities” played in mitigating the “pains of desistance”, and identify the implications of this for future reintegration support and service delivery.


Bronwyn Morrison has a Ph.D in Criminology from Keele University, UK. She has worked in government research roles in New Zealand since 2005 and has worked for the Department of Conservation, New Zealand Police, and the Ministry of Justice. She joined Corrections’ Research and Analysis team in 2015 as a Principal Research Adviser. Bronwyn has conducted research on women, alcohol and crime, vehicle crime, bias in the criminal justice system, fear of crime and victimisation, family violence perpetrators, remand prisoners, and prisoners’ post-release experiences.

Jill Bowman has worked in Corrections’ Research and Analysis team for seven years following a variety of roles in both the private and public sector. She also volunteers at Arohata Women’s Prison, teaching quilting to women in the Drug Treatment Unit. Jill has conducted research on mental health and substance abuse comorbidity in prisoners, mental health services in women’s prisons, post release experiences of prisoners, and prisoners’ methamphetamine use and treatment experiences.


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