The Department of Justice recognises the importance of maintaining the prisoner’s family relationships and links with their community.
The Elders program works together with Noongar Elders to help prisoners and young people while they are in custody and when they make the transition into the community upon release.
The program is currently being rolled out with Elders talking to prisoners about:
- Traditional values, such as respecting cultural ways, sharing, and maintaining family and family relationships.
- Help the prisoners with through-care post-release by connecting them to Aboriginal community centres.
- Counselling to help deal with issues such as drugs and alcohol or family relationships and in others they can get training to increase the likelihood of getting a job.
- Build up a person's self-esteem, credibility and integrity and help that person to be a better role-model for their family.
- Elders can participate in his or her own way, which might be painting, dancing, and singing, yarning or cooking kangaroo sausages over a camp fire.
Aboriginal Visitors Scheme
The Aboriginal Visitors Scheme provides support and counselling for Aboriginal detainees and prisoners in prisons, juvenile detention centres and police lock-ups throughout WA.
Aboriginal Visitors are Department of Justice employees, who are dedicated to working solely with the Aboriginal prison population. AVS staff are located at Department of Justice prison’s and youth detention facilities within Western Australia (Monday – Friday, 8.00 am to 4.00 pm).
The Aboriginal Visitors Scheme (AVS) forms part of Prison Support Services within the Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs (MHAOD) Branch. AVS provides culturally appropriate support and works as part of a multidisciplinary team to prevent instances of suicide and self-harm amongst Aboriginal people in adult prisons and the youth detention facility. AVS promote a culture of resilience and healing and help prisoners and detainees connect with their culture and community.
An afterhours service is available to Aboriginal prisoners and detainees through the AVS Freecall 1800 telephone services. AVS provides assistance to the Aboriginal community via the AVS Freecall 1800 number where there are concerns reported about the social and emotional wellbeing of prisoners and detainees in custody.
Freecall: 1800 282 429
The Aboriginal Benchbook for Western Australian Courts contains information for the judiciary to alert them to cross-cultural issues which may arise in the conduct of court proceedings involving aboriginal people. The Benchbook is also a useful resource for any person involved in such proceedings.
The Benchbook was written by Ms Stephanie Fryer-Smith and published by the Australasian Institute for Judicial Management (AIJA).
The Aboriginal Benchbook for Western Australian Courts (PDF)
Aboriginal Mediation Service
The Aboriginal Mediation Service (AMS) aim is to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to resolve conflicts before they escalate into violence or result in court action, by providing an effective and culturally appropriate dispute resolution service.
Level 23, David Malcolm Justice Centre
28 Barrack Street
PERTH WA 6000
Telephone: 6 18 9264 6176
Freecall: 1800 045 577