Regardless of public opinion, prisoner re-entry is not an option; all prisoners eventually get released. Apart from those who die in custody, prisoner re-entry is merely the unavoidable result of incarceration.
As such prisoner re-entry programs are essential services for both people leaving prison and for the safety of the community. Providing access to necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, transportation, personal identification, as well as sufficient human and social capital such as assisting people developing the skills to navigate services, and the challenges they will face returning to the community, prisoner re-entry programs provide structural factors to build capacity for the prisoner to reside in the community.
Although most people leaving prison will face similar challenges; sexual offenders have additional challenges based upon public attitudes of their crimes. Given all prisoners get released regardless of their crimes, Specialist Re-entry Services has taken up the challenge that many other services will not.
Specialist Re-entry Services (SRS) has been in operation in Perth, Western Australia for over 35 years, working specifically with male lifers, long-term incarcerated, those on indefinite sentences, and sexual offenders. This unique cohort of people face their own distinctive challenges, prejudices and support needs that require specialized and individualized support. This presentation will look at the innovated practices SRS currently do from an evidenced-informed approach.
Vanessa Gwerder (Practice Lead – Justice, Uniting WA) has been working in the criminal reintegration space for high risk and serious offenders for more than 14 years, across New Zealand and Western Australia.
Vanessa has a passion working with Indigenous peoples, assisting those with Lived Experience to tell their truth”