Parole Board annual report :Parole Board of the Northern Territory
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Parole Board of the Northern Territory
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ANNUAL REPORT 2014 28 PAROLE BOARD OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY | ANNUAL REPORT 2014 PAROLE BOARD OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY | ANNUAL REPORT 2014 29 PARTNERSHIPS North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) NAAJA has established a Prison Support Officer Project and an Indigenous ThroughCare Project. The Prison Support Officer Project started in September 2009. It has two Prison Support Officers who are based at the Darwin Correctional Centre. Their roles include: Supporting Aboriginal prisoners applying for parole by liaising between the prisoner and their parole officer and providing access to legal advice and representation. Providing some post-release support to selected Aboriginal prisoners leaving prison to reside in the Darwin region after serving an extended sentence. Making referrals to the Darwin Correctional Centres Prisoner Services for prisoners with complex needs, including substance abuse and mental health issues to assist them prepare for release. NAAJAs Indigenous ThroughCare Project started in February 2010. It has four case managers who each provide case management for up to 15 Aboriginal clients. Their roles include: Accepting referrals of clients, including from the Darwin Correctional Centre, the NAAJA Prison Support Officer, external service providers or the family of Aboriginal prisoners. Assessing the transitional needs of Aboriginal prisoners prior to their release, interviewing Aboriginal prisoners individually to determine their needs for rehabilitation, accommodation, family support and employment prospects. Developing individual case management plans in partnership with the prisoners who will have identified their goals upon their release. Identifying relevant services that can be accessed to achieve their transitional goals upon release. Working in partnership with key stakeholders to provide the essential services to contribute to the success of transition from prison back into the community. These include community groups and government agencies. Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (CAALAS) Due to a reduction in their funding, CAALAS no longer provides a prisoner support service. The history of CAALAS partnership with the Board and the Department of Correctional Services is as follows. In 2011 Northern Territory Correctional Services worked with CAALAS to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to guide two programs: Prisoner Support Program; and Youth Justice Advocacy Project. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed and came into effect on 23 March 2012. The objectives of the Prisoners Support Program were to: Assist Aboriginal prisoners to understand parole by explaining the process of parole and the role of parole officers and the Board. Assist Aboriginal prisoners to successfully obtain and complete parole by: Raising their awareness of the factors contributing to their offending behaviours; and Helping them identify appropriate rehabilitation programs to be completed while in custody and upon release. Assist Aboriginal prisoners to develop viable post-release plans with due consideration for community safety and the victims of crime. Make submissions to the Parole Board on behalf of prisoners making an application for parole. From March 2012 until their funding was cut, CAALAS worked closely with Correctional Services and the Board to: help prisoners develop suitable release plans and provide them with support in the community; and make submissions on behalf of prisoners who were applying for parole. Parolees face many barriers to successful reintegration in the community that place them at risk of re-offending, including difficulties securing accommodation and employment. To try and overcome the barriers to reintegration, the Department of Correctional Services entered into partnerships with NAAJA and CAALAS aimed at expanding the amount of throughcare available to prisoners and parolees. These organisations had developed their own throughcare programs which are and were relied on to complement and supplement the throughcare provided by the Community Corrections Division of the Department of Correctional Services. The purpose of throughcare is to assist prisoners who are on parole to set realistic goals, identify appropriate support networks and maintain practical plans for re-integration in the community.
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