Disconnection from culture and community are often at the heart of the problems that bring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into the justice system. Incarceration compounds this disconnection, separating people from Country, community and family, and continuing the cycle of disconnection for children and loved ones left behind. There is a clear need for culturally based programs at all points in the justice system to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people an opportunity for healing and for maintaining cultural and community connection.
The 44 Hour Koorie Men’s Drug and Alcohol Program was developed by Caraniche, in collaboration with a Koorie Advisory Board consisting of community representatives working in the areas of justice, health and mental health. The program aims to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners with an opportunity to address their treatment needs in a culturally secure space and to strengthen cultural connection and identity to support long lasting change upon re-entry into the community.
The program has a cultural / clinical co-facilitation model and employs Aboriginal psychological, social and cultural perspectives to address problems with substance use and offending. Key components of the program include the use of cultural practices such as art, storytelling, smoking and yarning to explore treatment related issues and to develop the potential for change.
This presentation will describe the program and share some of the experiences of program participants who talk about the importance of culture, healing and connecting back to community.
Ronald Briggs has been working in the area of Aboriginal men’s health for more than 20 years. He is on the Board of Directors for the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service and sits on various committees concerned with the health and wellbeing of the Melbourne Aboriginal community. Uncle Ron was awarded the Reg Blow Reconciliation Award from the City of Whittlesea and was nominated for a National Reconciliation Award. Uncle Ron is currently working as Senior Aboriginal Cultural Adviser and Program Facilitator with Caraniche.
Frank is a member of the senior leadership team with Caraniche and is General Manager of the Forensic Services department and Program Design and Evaluation team. This includes state-wide provision of AOD programs in public prisons, behaviour change programs in the community, the HiRoads service, a specialised individual treatment for high risk offenders and, AOD service provision as part of the Victorian Fixated Threat Assessment Centre.
Frank is a registered psychologist and supervisor with AHPRA and has been working in the forensic field for over 20 years in various roles such as clinician, service coordinator, supervisor, trainer and general manager. He has extensive experience in individual and group therapy delivery and forensic supervision. Frank has also overseen the design, development and delivery of short, moderate and high intensity group treatment programs with offenders.