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Meet the new Criminal Justice Fellows

The International Specialised Skills Institute and the Jeffrey Markoff foundation are excited to announce the recipients of our first Innovation in Criminal Justice Fellowship.

The response to this Fellowship has been amazing, with a collection of strong applications coming in from all over Australia.

This Fellowship is unique in that it explores one topic – to reduce recidivism in Australia – but from various angles, as chosen by the participating Fellows. The selection of these five Fellows combine both lived-experience with an academic and advocacy background. Over the next 12 months, these Fellows will meet online to discuss their progress, share insights and connections, and deliver some findings that will ignite serious thought as to how we can reduce re-offending in Australia. These Fellowships will mostly look towards Nordic countries as inspiration for progressive change, as well as some parts of the USA.

Our first Fellow is Annalisa Cercone. Annalisa’s Fellowship will investigate mental health and suicide prevention initiatives for people in custody. Annalisa currently works in mental health reform across Victorian prisons and is working to implement several initiatives. Through her fellowship she will look into the role of custodial staff and their relevant training in supporting people with lived-experience of mental illness, suicide and self-harm; therapeutic prison design and architecture as well as psycho-therapeutic and psycho-social interventions in improving mental health and well-being for people in prison.

Elle Marengo’s Fellowship focuses on learning best practice from successful rehabilitation-focussed courts, prisons, and services in Norway. Building on her previous research with respect to the use of audio-visual (AV) link technology in Australian Courts and prisons, Elle’s Fellowship seeks to maximise opportunities provided by technology and collaborative practice between systems and services to address legal, health, mental health, substance misuse and addiction, disability, housing, employment, and education needs. Elle’s research will examine how pre and post release support services in Norway provide continuity, improve rehabilitation outcomes, and reduce recidivism. Her careful consideration of ‘lived experience’ stories and best professional practice will inform her recommendations for the application of therapeutic jurisprudence principles in Australian Courts and prisons.

Dean Lloyd is 48 year old Father of three, born south of Sydney, who has lived -experience in the criminal justice system. Dean’s Fellowship will pose the question – can we build safer communities by closing prisons? Prison as we know it is barbaric, antiquated, violent and obsolete ill-equipped to meet the needs of modern society. Punishing people who need help has failed as a method of behaviour change or deterrent. Dean’s fellowship will cast a systemic lens on the attempt to close Rikers prison in New York, the policy that rendered a significant amount of prisons obsolete in the Netherlands. While identifying any programs already in Australia that will complement this work.

Dr. Lukas Peter Carey is currently Deputy Principal at Youth Futures Community School (WA), a school that provides alternative schooling for students with juvenile justice, mental health, learning disabilities and substance related issues, resulting in them being removed from mainstream education. Additionally, as a previously incarcerated person, Lukas has experienced education from ‘both sides of the fence’ and have seen first-hand that classroom based, mainstream education programs do not meet the needs of many. Working with people of all ages, who have been or are incarcerated, has highlighted the need for opportunities to break the link between low levels of education and high levels of incarceration, referred to in the literature as the ‘school to prison pipeline’. Lukas’ lived experience, research, employment, advocacy work, webinar and podcast series explore the role of education and place him in a unique position to steer change in this area in Australia.

Sophie Stewart grew up in Perth on Whadjuk Noongar Boodja, since 2016 she has been Coalition and Campaign Manager of Social Reinvestment WA, a peak justice coalition of 30 NGOs led by Aboriginal Co-Chairs, working collectively to end the systemic over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the justice system. SRWA’s vision is moving beyond a costly, punitive model of justice that often fails to prevent, divert, or rehabilitate, and systemically discriminates – to an effective approach to justice that responds to the underlying root causes of offending. In her role, Sophie currently supports community led justice reinvestment sites across the state, leads the Raise the Age campaign in WA, and works across sectors to build policy solutions particularly in regards to youth justice reform. As a social change agent, Sophie is acutely aware that it will take more than just the plethora of evidence to shift to more effective justice responses. If we want to increase community safety, implement smarter justice responses, and improve the wellbeing of the people inside our justice systems, we need to shift public support from reactionary ‘tough on crime’ responses to diversion and rehabilitation. Sophie hopes to learn more about alternative justice approaches, and the preconditions and strategies of justice reformers who made them possible in society. More than just knowing and sharing models of successful, humane justice responses; We must build public support and political will for reform to achieve change.

The International Specialised Skills Institute is excited to work with these talented and passionate Fellows on their research over the coming 12 months. We will be sharing their findings once completed.

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