Northern Territory Correctional Services Elders Visiting Program
The Northern Territory Elders Visiting Program (EVP) was developed in partnership between the NT Department of Justice, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), Community Councils and Elders.
The Elders Visiting Program commenced in 2005 and operates throughout NT Correctional facilities and communities. The program recognizes that cultural contact with Aboriginal Elders can improve the reintegration prospects of Aboriginal prisoners by maintaining links to community and culture while in prison.
The Elders Visiting Program (EVP) objectives are:
1. To support the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal prisoners by maintaining links to community and culture while in prison; and
2. To improve the reintegration prospects of Aboriginal prisoners by talking about behaviors that led to their incarceration and discussing their post release plans, obligations and expectations upon returning to community.
The Elders advise prisoners on the difficulties they are likely to face on their release and strive to assist and support them while they readjust back into their communities.
The program currently has representation from 16 communities in the Northern Territory and works across government and non-government agencies to provide support in the reintegration process of Aboriginal people retuning to home.
NT Attorney General and Justice
Manager Elders Visiting Program
Juanita Jones is the Manager of the Elders Visiting Program (EVP) in the Aboriginal Strategy and Coordination unit NT Correctional Services. Juanita has 16 years’ experience in Corrective Services, commencing her career in WA Correctional Services in 2003, and working for NTCS since 2008. She also has significant experience in stakeholder engagement working with other internal stakeholders (custodial, youth, community corrections), other government agencies, non-government agencies, Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal Elders.
From 2003-2007, in her role with the WA Department of Corrective Services as a Juvenile Custodial Officer, Juanita also acted in the Aboriginal Welfare Officer and Liaison Officer (court & bail) positions. In 2007 Juanita was seconded to the Aboriginal Policy and Services Directorate – Department of Attorney General WA – as a Project Officer in the Aboriginal Justice Agreement (AJA) Team working on a variety of local AJA justice plans.
Juanita has worked with NTCS from 2008-2016 in different roles, including Senior Policy Officer Aboriginal Affairs and Senior Policy Officer Reintegration. In that period she has been responsible for procurement and contracts management in sex offender treatment programs and the pre and post prisoner support release space. She has also been the key driver for the expansion and further development of the EVP, growing the program from eight communities to sixteen communities/regions. She is also the key contact for Elders and others wishing to engage effectively with Elders that participate in the EVP.