Rainbow Pathways: From Prison to Community. A marginalised group within a marginalised group
Ms Javiera Dastres1, Mr Nic Gee1
1Rainbow Pathways, Melbourne, Australia
Research into LGBTIQA+ people in Australian prisons is limited. However, this limited research has identified that there is an over-representation of LGBTIQA+ people in custody. There are various barriers and challenges experienced by the LGBTIQA+ community that increases the risk of initial and ongoing involvement in the criminal justice system. Organisational changes are needed in order to create a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTIQA+ prisoners, custodial and non-custodial staff, family, and visitors.
Rainbow Pathways has identified that there is a gap and a need for services that are specifically for people who are LGBTIQA+ and who are involved in the criminal justice system as well as for LGBTIQA+ staff.
We will be providing a summary of our experiences forming and facilitating unique LGBTIQA+ support groups in prison. We will outline the process involved in setting up the groups, the positive outcomes for group participants and staff, and its challenges. We will highlight where to next with regards to changing prison culture and continuing to provide support to the LGBTIQA+ prison community in and out of prison. We will explore the approaches needed to provide a safe environment for the LGBTIQA+ community within the hypermasculine culture of correctional centres.
Javiera (she/her) and Nic (he/him) are the co-founders of Rainbow Pathways, an organisation that aims to provide web-based and in-person support to correctional centres in creating safe and inclusive environments.
Javiera and Nic have a combined 10 years of experience in corrections, and together have provided support to LGBTIQA+ prisoners.
Javiera is a registered psychologist and currently works in a progressive psychology practice providing sex, intimacy, and mental health treatment in person and online.
Nic completed a Bachelor in Criminology and Graduate Certificate in Specialist Forensic Assessment and Risk Management. He was the finalist for LGBTIQ Person of the Year.