Leaving Prison and Leaving Violence: Pathways out of the Criminal Justice System for Women. A Panel Discussion Featuring Indigenous Women with Both Lived Experience of Imprisonment and Professional Expertise in Post-release Support.

The Community Restorative Centre has operated programs that are specific to women leaving prison for more than thirty years. Despite the under-representation of women in the justice system, the gender specific needs of women leaving custody require attention and focus when designing and re-thinking reintegration programs. Indigenous women are the fastest growing prisoner population in Australia and there is growing recognition both in the research and practice fields of the complex link between women’s imprisonment and women’s experience of domestic and family violence. In order to frame the level and intensity of support required for women to live safely outside of the criminal justice system, there is a need to develop our understanding of both the complicated factors driving women’s imprisonment and the multiple barriers and challenges women face on release. This panel will explore the relationship between the criminal justice system and the experience of violence, and look at what pathways are available for women who are trying to move away from both. Drawing on the skills and experience of the women who work at CRC including women with lived experience of the criminal justice system, this panel will provide a critical and candid overview of the gender specific issues faced by women on release, with a specific focus on the experience of Indigenous women.

Peta MacGillivray

UNSW
Project Manager, Yuwaya Ngarra-li

Peta MacGillivray is a proud Kalkadoon and South Sea Islander woman and the Yuwaya Ngarra-li Project Manager based at UNSW. Peta is a lawyer, and has previously worked as a researcher on a range of criminology, legal services and community-development projects in Sydney and across Australia. Peta was a Field Researcher and Project Manager for the ARC Linkage Project ‘Indigenous Australians with Mental Health Disorders and Cognitive Disability in the Criminal Justice System’, which first introduced her to the Dharriwaa Elders Group. Peta’s area of legal practice specialisation is the legal needs of children and young people, particularly those experiencing social and economic disadvantage. For example, children and young people in the criminal justice system and the care and protection system. Peta is passionate about youth justice and children and young people’s participation in community development work. Peta is currently studying her Masters in Law (Criminology and Criminal Justice) at UNSW Faculty of Law.

Gail Gray

Community Restorative Centre (CRC)

Gail is a Gumbayngirr woman on her mother’s side & a Wiradjiri Koori woman on her father’s side. Born on the Mid north coast of NSW in Macksville all Gail’s mother’s family live in a little town called Bowraville. At 2years old Gail was brought to Sydney in Redfern to live with her Grandmother: a proud Wiradjiri woman who raised her on Gadigal country in the eastern suburb of Woolloomooloo. Gail started out in the community service sector as a Peer Support worker in 2011 in Homeless outreach service working with Rough Sleepers in the city of Sydney. She then moved on to the Mental Health sector in community living support program. In the last 4 years Gail has been working & very passionate to support men and women affected by the justice System. Gail also has lived experience of the criminal justice system.

Tara Morrison

Community Restorative Centre (CRC)

Tara Morrison has been with CRC for close to a year, and is currently working as part of the AOD transition team. Prior to CRC Tara has worked with vulnerable populations in a variety of roles. Tara is passionate about supporting people struggling with alcohol and other drugs, and supporting women with children, and people who have lived with complex trauma. She is focused on assisting people to see that there are ways to live outside of the criminal justice system. Tara is also very interested in developing ways to work with Indigenous clients that are culturally meaningful and appropriate

Kelly Parker

Community Restorative Centre (CRC)

Kelly Parker is a a Wiradjuri woman born in Blacktown Western Sydney. Kelly grew up on Darug land in Western Sydney. Kelly has been working and volunteering in the community services sector for many years working with individuals that have been victims of Domestic and Family violence and other crimes. Over the past four years Kelly has been working with women involved in the criminal justice system. Kelly has completed a Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Criminology. She is passionate about supporting individuals that are facing challenges in their lives and advocating on their behalf for positive outcomes, safety and change.

Terina King

Community Restorative Centre (CRC)