Letter to Hon. Gerry McCarthy MLA from Priscilla Collins Chief Executive Officer North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency NAAJA's response to the New Era in Corrections dated 23 February 2011
Tabled paper 1429
Tabled papers for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled By Gerald McCarthy
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.
justice, courts and corrective services and other justice related agencies (emphasis added). Having offenders successfully complete their supervisory orders is in keeping with Governments goal of reducing incarceration and focussing on rehabilitation. NAAJA recommends the following initiatives to ensure higher success rates for Aboriginal people placed on supervisory orders: The role of Community Corrections Officers should be redefined. NAAJA understands that whilst statutory monitoring is a substantive role of a Corrections Officer, to assist offenders in successful reintegration and completion of their orders, it is essential that a much larger emphasis be placed on mentoring. This would foster a more rehabilitative and positive relationship between the client and their Corrections Officer. Many clients experience extreme anxiety and stress when confronted with strict monitoring and the realities of a supervised order. It is our experience that this results in many clients giving up and disengaging from the requirements of their supervisory orders. Community Corrections officer should focus more on reducing clients experience of stress and anxiety, which would significantly increase the likelihood of clients reintegrating successfully. Community Corrections should seek to employ more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to act as Corrections Officers. Where possible, these people should be from and based in community. Corrections Officers should more frequently use interpreters when communicating with Aboriginal clients whenever a person has English as a second or subsequent language. This would allow for more meaningful and culturally relevant communication, greater depth of understanding, and more accurate information exchange. Corrections Officers should make allowance for community life style obstacles and realities, such as limited access to telephones, attendance upon cultural obligations, and transience due to a lack of appropriate housing. Whilst we understand the importance of reporting and maintaining contact with Corrections, it is also our experience that many Aboriginal people are breached because of irregular or late reporting. A culturally responsive system should make allowance for this. Corrections Officers should work closely with community Elders to ensure any directions given under the order are realistic, culturally relevant and also mutually reinforced by both the Corrections Officer and community Elders. Wherever possible, Corrections Officers should make face-to-face contact with people under supervision. NAAJA is concerned that telephone communication may not allow for culturally responsive ways of communicating, such as maintaining 4
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