Successful Reintegration or Recidivism? Improved NDIS Access and Engagement for Aboriginal People with Disability within the Justice and Corrective Services System Results in Successful Reintegration.

Jennifer Snell

UnitingCare West
Practice Lead Justice Services

Jennifer has been leading UnitingCare West's Justice Services for the past six years. She has extensive experience in designing, developing, implementing and managing services in both metropolitan and regional settings and is a tertiary qualified counsellor. With a family of brothers and sons, Jennifer has a particular interest in our society’s notions of masculinity and its effect on individuals and our community. The focus of her 1:1 clinical work has been around this and she has worked in and managed both voluntary and mandated Family and Domestic Violence programs, facilitated men’s groups and developed and presented community education programmes. She is a strong advocate for the rights of victims of crime and understands that to effect real change, support for that change needs to be provided at the source of the issue, which is offender behaviour. Jennifer is passionate about developing and providing programmes that promote accountability and responsibility as catalysts for change. She believes that engaged programme participants who are supported with respect, transparency and positive regard, whilst also being held accountable for their actions, have the capacity to change and this in turn changes our community.

Larissa Muir

UnitingCare West
Special Projects Officer

Larissa has been involved in the community services sector and UnitingCare West for over 10 years, working in areas of Disability, Mental Health, Youth and Homelessness. She is tertiary qualified holding a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree, majoring in Disability and recently began a Post Graduate degree in Psychotherapy and Counselling. She has in her career had opportunities to develop, implement and manage new initiatives and services. Larissa's family is spread all over Australia which has provided her with opportunities to observe different communities and how they function. She is particularly interested in what makes a person feel that they belong and helps them feel connected to others around them. We seem to be more connected with technology than with each other. This contrasts significantly with the social isolation we often experience and is a challenge on one’s ability to thrive and keep up in an ever changing world. Imagining a world where we connect due to shared interests and moments as a way of solving our community's issues is the driving force behind Larissa’s work.

UnitingCare West in collaboration with Wungening Aboriginal Corporation have identified and worked with Aboriginal people incarcerated at three metropolitan prisons who potentially meet eligibility criteria for NDIS funding. Monitoring their progress through the NDIS access application has allowed us to identify the obstacles, barriers and enablers they experienced in the process. We have established an Aboriginal Health Professionals Working Group to advise on issues such as the destigmatisation of mental health and disability from an Aboriginal perspective and have worked with Aboriginal consultants to perform a cultural audit of the NDIS access and planning process and we have learnt a lot. We would now like to share what we have learned with other service providers so that our First Nations People reintegrating back into the community from prison, who have a disability, are able to get the support to which they are entitled. Providing the support they need to manage their disability may make the difference between them reintegrating successfully or reoffending and returning to prison.