Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Justice Lab
Bruce Western is Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and Co-Director of the Justice Lab at Columbia University.
His research has examined the causes, scope, and consequences of the historic growth in U.S. prison populations. Current projects include a randomized experiment assessing the effects of criminal justice fines and fees on misdemeanor defendants in Oklahoma City, and a field study of solitary confinement in Pennsylvania state prisons. Western is also the Principal Investigator of the Square One Project that aims re-imagine the public policy response to violence under conditions of poverty and racial inequality.
He was the Vice Chair of the National Academy of Sciences panel on the causes and consequences of high incarceration rates in the United States. He is the author of Homeward: Life in the Year After Prison (Russell Sage Foundation, 2018), and Punishment and Inequality in America (Russell Sage Foundation, 2006). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholar, and a fellow of the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study. Western received his PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and was born in Canberra, Australia.
Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Justice Lab
Matthew Willis is a Research Manager at the Australian Institute of Criminology, where has been for fourteen years.
His main research areas are crime, justice and community safety issues in Indigenous communities, correctional policy and practice and juvenile justice. He has conducted evaluations of a range of criminal justice programs and responses and is currently leading evaluations of national responses to radicalisation, extremism and grievance-fuelled violence.
Matthew’s previous research with the Institute has included homelessness amongst ex-prisoners, bushfire arson and federal offences. He has delivered numerous peer reviewed publications, consultancy reports, conference presentations and media interviews across his topic areas.
Matthew has operational management and policy experience with a range of Australian and ACT government justice agencies, including four years with ACT Corrective Services.
Jill has worked for thirty plus years in contexts where people’s lives have been shaped by colonialization, white supremacy, and the production of oppression through race, class and gender. Her work has been on unceded Aboriginal lands across the Pilbara, Alice Springs and NT communities and Melbourne. A practitioner, community worker, supervisor, trainer and researcher Jill is committed to disrupting the dominance of power in the lives or individuals, families and communities to support wellbeing. Most recently Jill has worked in the development of family violence frameworks for queer communities and for all women and trans and gender diverse peoples who have used interpersonal violence in both the women’s prison.
YWCA Australia is a leading national feminist organisation working to achieve gender equality for all women- primarily through programs, services, housing, education and advocacy. Women of Worth is a YWCA Australia program that supports women involved in the justice system, encouraging them to make positive lifestyle changes, to re-engage with the community and to reduce re-offending. And statistics tell us just how effectively this program is working. Since commencement of the service in Darwin 3 years ago, Women of Worth has more than halved recidivism rates for program participants. Data provided by NT Correctional services on 4 September 2017 shows that out of 84 WoW clients, only 3 clients (4%) returned to Darwin Correctional Centre for new charges and 12 (15%) for breach of conditions. The program was recently honoured with the prestigious Fitzgerald Justice Award, for contributing significantly to the protection, promotion and fulfilment of human rights in the area of law and justice.
Rosie Cooper is the Coordinator of YWCA Australia’s Women of Worth (WoW) program, a successful prison throughcare program supporting women involved with the justice system to reintegrate back into the community and to reduce reoffending. Since commencement of the service in Darwin 3 years ago, Women of Worth has more than halved recidivism rates for program participants. The spirit of Women of Worth is genuinely guided by women at the centre of the program and informed by their experiences. As a result of low reoffending rates and strong client relationships, WoW has won the 2018 NT Human Rights Award in the category of justice. Rosie is very passionate about her work in working alongside women involved in the justice system to increase resilience and reduce reoffending.
Jenny Lovric has worked in the access to justice sector for over 20 years. She started at Redfern Legal Centre as a law student, and has since worked as a Judge's Associate at the Federal Court of Australia, at the NSW Law Reform Commission, the Australian Pro Bono Centre, CHOICE and as a Consultant and for the last 12 years at Legal Aid NSW. Jenny believes that the only way to make substantial change and address inequity in the justice system is through genuine partnerships and collaboration across the community, government and corporate/philanthropic sectors. At Legal Aid NSW Jenny managed the Cooperative Legal Service Delivery Program which comprised multi-agency legal and non-legal agency partnerships in regional and remote NSW, often working with Aboriginal communities. Jenny joined Just Reinvest NSW in 2018 to lead their community engagement project with Aboriginal communities wishing to explore local, place-based and community-led justice reinvestment approaches to achieve better outcomes for Aboriginal people.
Renae ‘’Rocket’’ Bretherton is a 38 year old Aboriginal women who has been in and out of prison for most of her life. In the past, Rocket has found the process of reintegration to be very difficult.
Rocket is becoming a strong advocate and passionate about making positive changes for other women in prison facing reintegration. She is also a strong voice about what can be done to improve outcomes for women involved in the justice system.