Research and Evaluation

“They’re there to support you and help you, they’re not there to judge you”: Breaking the cycle of incarceration, drug use and release
Evaluation of the Community Restorative Centre’s AOD and reintegration programs
by Dr Mindy Sotiri, Dr Ruth McCausland, Dr Rebecca Reeve, Lucy Phelan and Terry Byrnes

The evaluation investigated the social and economic benefit of CRC support for people leaving custody or at risk of incarceration, with a particular focus on people requiring support around the use of drugs and alcohol. It examined the impact on recidivism before and after receiving CRC support for a cohort of clients using BOCSAR and custody data, as well as a comparison of the trajectories and outcomes of CRC clients compared with a similar cohort, including two in-depth case studies.

The evaluation also reports on a qualitative study of the perspectives and experiences of clients and staff about CRC’s model of support. The findings demonstrate the positive impact of CRC’s model of support on clients’ lives, resulting in reduced contact with the criminal justice system and cost savings to government.

Download and read the evaluation here.

Supporting family video visits during COVID-19: the experiences of the Community Restorative Centre
by Alex Faraguna

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting suspension of face-to-face visits to incarcerated loved ones caused a high level of distress to families, which was partially alleviated by the introduction of video visits directly to the family’s own smart device. This new system of video visiting was not without difficulties but provided a welcome method of staying in contact with a loved one in custody. CRC staff were able to provide ongoing emotional support and accurate, up-to-date information to family members throughout the pandemic and alleviate some of the misinformation and resulting distress experienced by families who were concerned about the physical and emotional wellbeing of their relative in custody.

Download and read the paper here.

KWOOP Coalition – Profile of Women In Prison Part A: A Snapshot
by Lucy Phelan, Dr Mindy Sotiri & Margaret Scott for KWOOP

The KWOOP Coalition identified a gap in the availability of consolidated evidence on the status of women in prison in NSW and the services available to them. Profile of Women in Prison Part A: A Snapshot contains the data pertaining to women in prison as at August 2019. It establishes a baseline profile of women in prison in NSW, which exposes the extraordinary levels of disadvantage and unmet need in this population.

Download and read the paper here.

KWOOP Coalition – Profile of Women In Prison Part B: Census of Services for women affected by the corrections system
by Lucy Phelan & Dr Mindy Sotiri

Part B: Census of Services is a comprehensive compilation of support services for women in NSW affected by the corrections system. It lists information such as type of support, location, capacity, eligibility criteria and funding among other factors. The full report is contained in Part A: A Snapshot.

Download and read the paper here.

Locked Out: The implementation of the NDIS for people in prison in NSW: 2016-2019
by Dr Mindy Sotiri and Sophie Russell

In 2016, the implementation of the NDIS resulted in a transition for people with disabilities away from disability specific projects previously provided by state funded programs. The documenting of this process and its impact upon CRC clients noted some profound resource and structural challenges in obtaining NDIS packages for people covered holistically by the previous supports. This report identified key issues, findings and recommendations to address these challenges.

Download and read the paper here.

An Exploration of Best Practice in Community Based Reintegration Programs for People Leaving Custody in the US and the UK.
Dr Mindy Sotiri (Community Restorative Centre)

This project is an exploration of best practice in community-based reintegration services for people leaving prison; it has a particular focus on issues related to working with complex needs populations. Complex needs populations include people with cognitive impairment, mental illness, long histories of criminal justice system involvement, homelessness, and limited community connection and engagement. This research included an extensive literature review, hundreds of email and phone conversations with experts around the world, and 26 direct service visits to community based programs in Chicago, Detroit, Washington, Providence, New York, London and Glasgow.

Download and read the paper here.

You can read more on The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust website.


Supporting people with Cognitive Impairment and criminal justice system involvement: A briefing paper overviewing key challenges and service gaps.
Alison Churchill, Dr Mindy Sotiri and Simone Rowe (Community Restorative Centre)

This paper highlights some of the major challenges for people with an intellectual disability, complex needs and a history of involvement with the criminal justice system transitioning to the NDIS.

The Community Restorative Centre’s (CRC) concerns can be summarised as follows:

  1. The separation of disability and non-disability related behaviours under the NDIS framework (and the unmet need for holistic support for complex needs clients);
  2. The complicated implications of the ‘choice and control’ policy framework of NDIS in relation to this population group;
  3. The implications of the fee-for-service model in terms of ‘cherry-picking’ clients in order to ensure organisational financial sustainability (why clients with rapidly changing complex support needs won’t be supported);
  4. The need to appropriately consider the risks posed to the community if this group are not adequately supported (and the poor access to services in the community for this group);
  5. The importance of understanding the full effects of incarceration on individuals with intellectual disability and complex needs;
  6. The implications of excluding prisons in NDIS pilot sites (which means there is no possibility of implementing internationally recognised best practice through-care models of support)

Download and read the paper here.