The 2014/2015 Annual Report focuses on the personal stories of the people supported by the Community Restorative Centre (CRC). CRC recognises the challenges faced by people when trying to build purposeful, independent lives in the community, often after whole lifetimes of being ‘managed’ in criminal justice system settings. The stories in this report identify CRC’s unique approach to post-release support and demonstrate how people on release overcome multiple barriers to reintegration.
“it’s not easy after being in jail for so long, so if people read this, get help and give yourself a good chance to live a healthy, normal life.”
- CRC Client -
The stories also identify the importance of CRC staff developing strong, professional and non-judgemental relationships with our clients, and the significance of building trust over time.
CRC staff are inspired every day by the people we work with on release from prison. Their capacity and commitment to make profound and positive changes in their lives is constantly surprising, especially given that this often occurs against a backdrop of extreme disadvantage and minimal community or family support.
“I think the thing that has worked best for me is having the time to get to know the staff….that takes time, especially when people have let you down all of your life. Feeling safe to talk honestly has made it easier for me to identify what it is I want in my life. I don’t feel like I have to hide behind a mask and just say the right things so that I don’t get into trouble.”
- CRC Client -
The report also overviews CRC’s participation in advisory committees, consultative groups, conferences and training sessions for organisations and government bodies; outlining how this allows us to share our knowledge of this client group, how our programs work and the need for a better understanding of the complex needs of people who are cycling through the prison system.
Importantly, the report acknowledges a true mentor and friend to CRC who passed away on April 23, 2015. Uncle Ray Jackson was a strong Wiradjuri man who fought his entire life for the rights of those less fortunate. His unwavering support for CRC was shown during his tenure on the Board of Management. Ray was an outspoken, forthright, dedicated, selfless, passionate, intelligent, and transformative man. He was a husband, father, grandfather, friend, mentor, teacher and advocate; humble, respectful and never deferred to anyone or accepted that any one person was ‘greater’ or more important than another.
We urge you to read the personal stories of just a few of the people who CRC works with. Their stories of courage and spirit to overcome disadvantage, imprisonment and the challenges they face to establish a better life and a brighter future.