Community-led Pathways out of the Criminal Justice System for People with Complex Needs: An Australian Perspective

4:00pm - 5:30pm / Wednesday 25th October 2017 / Venue: Seminar room 12 South Teaching Hub
Type: Seminar / Category: Research
  • Suitable for: All welcome to attend.
  • Admission: Free to attend. Please register your attendance.
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Dr. Ruth McCausland and Dr. Mindy Sotiri

Australia’s prison population is at its highest ever recorded level. There is evidence that people
with multiple and complex needs - i.e. mental illness, cognitive impairment, homelessness, and
active drug and alcohol addiction - are disproportionately represented amongst the rising
numbers of prisoners, in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and men. In
recent years, there has been an increased emphasis by Australian governments on the criminal
justice system playing a therapeutic role, with significant resources committed to justice
agencies for the stated purpose of diversion and rehabilitation. Our presentation will draw on
research and practice to contend that the way this approach is being conceptualised and
operationalised is, in reality, serving to criminalise and entrench people with complex needs in
the criminal justice system. We will discuss holistic community-based partnerships and
programs we are involved with that are assisting people to build genuine pathways out of the
criminal justice system.
Dr. Ruth McCausland is Research Fellow in the School of Social Sciences, University of
New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
Dr. Mindy Sotiri is Program Director, Community Restorative Centre New South Wales,
Sydney, Australia.