CRC Submission to the NSW Legislative Council on Accessibility and Appropriate Delivery of Outpatient and Community Mental Health Care in New South Wales
– Prepared by Sophie Russell with Anthony Hayward, Brian Were, Claire McMahon, James Flint, Jay Tobin, Kym Bugmy, Sam Hooker, Susan Hawkeswood, Stephanie Molzan and Vendula Belackova
The aim of this CRC’s submission is to present the perspective of people who have become criminalised in the context of untreated and unsupported mental health concerns. We highlight the various ways criminalised populations are frequently excluded from community mental health services, and as a result, end up being ‘managed’ by criminal justice institutions. This is especially the case for First Nations people. We also take the opportunity to share our expertise with regard to what we have found to work in assisting people with complex support needs to build pathways out of the criminal justice system, specifically highlighting CRC’s Extended Reintegration Service as a model of good practice in supporting people with complex support needs in the community.
CRC Submission to the National Children’s Commissioner Youth Justice and Child Wellbeing Reform Across Australia
– Prepared by Sophie Russell with Lisa Collins and Lucy Phelan
This submission is informed by our experience and expertise as an organisation working in frontline service delivery with criminalised populations for over 70 years, as well as research projects members of the Research, Policy and Advocacy Unit (APRU) at CRC have been involved in. In this submission, we provide responses to the questions set out by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and provide information specific to the Community Restorative Centre’s (CRC) model of post-release support for people leaving prison.
CRC Submission to the Standing Committee on Social Issues on the Coercive Control Exposure Draft Bill 2022
– Prepared by Sophie Russell with Lucy Phelan, Claire McMahon, Marisa Moliterno, Kelly Parker and Chris Sheppard
CRC recognises the very serious and significant impacts of coercive control, particularly on the lives of women and their children. The focus of this submission details CRC’s concerns pertaining to the potential negative impact of the Draft Bill to criminalise women, especially those from marginalised groups, including First Nations women. Our submission draws from our expertise as a community sector organisation providing support to criminalised women and men.
CRC Submission for New family dispute resolution services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families
– prepared by Riana Tatana, Lucy Phelan and Dr Angela Argent
CRC welcomes this opportunity to support Closing the Gap Initiatives by offering comments and suggestions in relation to the development of new culturally safe family dispute resolution services (FDR) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.
The comments and suggestions provided here are intended to raise practical considerations in relation to enabling new FDR services to meet the needs of First Nations people impacted by the criminal justice system.
CRC Submission for the Select Committee on the High Level of First Nations People in Custody and Oversight and Review of Deaths in Custody
– Written by First Nations (Post-Release, Transition and AOD Support) staff at CRC including: Kym Bugmy, Terina King, Gail Gray, Melissa Merritt, Tara Morrison, Kelly Parker & Elizabeth Wymarra with Mindy Sotiri (CRC Director Advocacy, Policy and Research)
CRC’s position is that the decarceration of First Nations people is not a ‘wicked’ problem, or an impossible policy dilemma. We believe that dramatic decarceration is entirely possible when there is enough political will, alongside the prioritising of resourcing communities to provide meaningful support for people at risk of incarceration. We know that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities we work with hold the answers, and are waiting for an Australia that is brave enough to sit up and listen.
CRC would like in this report to explicitly acknowledge the work and legacy of Uncle Ray Jackson who served on the Community Restorative Centre board for 10 years, and as an Aboriginal advisor to CRC for many more. Uncle Ray spent his life working to confront systemic racism and violence in criminal justice system settings, as well as supporting and fighting for the families of people who had died in police and prison custody.
CRC Submission to the House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs – Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence
– prepared by Dr Mindy Sotiri with Marisa Moliterno, Kelly Parker & Gail Gray
This submission discusses the work of The Miranda Project, and how this innovative, gender specific approach supports women leaving prison at risk of domestic violence and further criminal justice system involvement. The submission spotlights the areas where the sector currently fails to meet the needs of women, whose complex needs can result in being precluded from what services are currently available.
Submission to Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs Inquiry into Homelessness
– prepared by Dr Mindy Sotiri
If we use the most conservative estimates, each year at least 4000 people leave prison into either homelessness or unstable accommodation. In NSW there are only 38 specialist beds for people leaving prison who are homeless. This submission outlines both the key issues for this group, the current failures of the service sector to meet the needs of people leaving custody into homelessness, and proposes best practice models for supporting this population.
CRC Submission into the Inquiry into Support for Children of Imprisoned Parents
– by Dr Mindy Sotiri with notes from Ola Elhassen
This submission begins by noting the similarity between the observations and recommendations for the barriers and challenges identified by CRC, submitted to the 1997 Upper House Inquiry into Children of Prisoners. Many of these remain identical, across a span of more than twenty years.
Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug ‘Ice’ STATEMENT OF Mindy Sotiri
– Dr Mindy Sotiri
This document is the statement prepared by Dr Mindy Sotiri for the 2019 Inquiry into the Drug ‘Ice’. In this, she discusses how CRC functions with our client group, a vast majority of whom have poly-drug use. She provides context to discuss the key issues facing people during their transition from prison and post-release, and how different areas of disadvantage interact to prevent or diminish the engagement with services.
Community Restorative Centre Supplementary Briefing Paper for Special Commission into Ice Inquiry
– prepared by Sophie Russell & Dr Mindy Sotiri
This paper asks whether the Risk Needs Responsivity (RNR) model developed in 1990, that has driven a particular approach to therapeutic correctional programs across NSW and other Australian jurisdictions, has been denied the appropriate critical lens due to its presumed singular efficacy. Five key critiques of this approach are overviewed in this briefing paper.
Throughcare and Reintegration: What Constitutes Best Practice in Community Based Post Release? A Community Restorative Centre Submission
– by Dr Mindy Sotiri & Deirdre Hyslop
This is a Community Restorative Centre Law Reform submission, September, 2017, responding to the Law Reform Report into the over-incarceration of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system. This response engages in two parts; with best practice in post-release support and transitional throughcare, and the second section responding specifically to the needs of women leaving prison.
The Provision of Services Under the NDIS for People with Disabilities Who are in Contact with the Criminal Justice System
– by Simone Rowe & Jim Simpson with Eileen Baldry & Patrick McGee
People with cognitive impairments are highly represented in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. This over-representation is directly related to the lack of appropriate disability supports commonly available to this group in their communities. The results are deprived and abused lives for the people with cognitive impairments, either cycling in and out of trouble and prison or, for a significant number indefinite detention with no likelihood of release. These problems are particularly marked for First Nations peoples.
Submission to the Proposed National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguarding Framework (April 2015)
– by Simone Rowe, Sophie Russell, Dr Mindy Sotiri (Community Restorative Centre)
With the introduction of the NDIS, at least in its current manifestation, the sustainability of CRCs existing services to people with intellectual and mental disabilities remains unclear. Furthermore, given their complex presentations, there is significant concern that people with intellectual and mental disabilities who are enmeshed in the criminal justice system will not fare well under the NDIS; rather, it appears likely that their incarceration rates will continue to escalate.
Homelessness in Ex-Prisoner Populations: A CRC Submission for FACS (2016)
– by Dr Mindy Sotiri and Alex Faraguna (Community Restorative Centre)
Sourcing suitable housing and accommodation options for people on release from custody is the single greatest challenge for community organisations working in the space of reintegration and transition. Although it is difficult to gauge the exact numbers of people on release who are exiting into homelessness, what is clear is that this population is significantly over-represented in prisons. What is also clear is that not only does the experience of homelessness significantly increase the risk of imprisonment (and other forms of adverse criminal justice system contact), imprisonment itself increases the likelihood of homelessness.