Let Us Walk Together

Thanks to your donations, support is being given to those leaving prison with the aim of reducing the likelihood that a person will commit further crime.

An innovation grant of $140,000 from the Give Where You Live Foundation assists Deakin University  in partnership with the Department of Justice and Regulation (DJR) to provide a structured peer mentoring program upon release from prison and access to a range of support services for people who are experiencing disadvantage.

This project is trialling a new approach to tackle entrenched disadvantage in the northern suburbs of Geelong. Dropping off the Edge (2015) found that disadvantage is concentrated within a small number of communities across Victoria. These communities experience complex persistent and hard-to-shift disadvantage. In Victoria, half of the prison population comes from just 6% of the state’s postcodes. 3214 is one of those postcodes and ranked 10th for prison admissions. The peer-mentoring program will provide direct support to eligible participants exiting prison in Geelong and facilitate referrals to a range of services in the community.

This grant has brought together a strong innovative partnership team between Deakin University and Department of Justice and Regulation. Deakin University, DJR staff and service providers are working collaboratively with service users (people with a lived experience of prison); ex-offenders, prisoners and offenders to develop the peer mentoring program aimed to enhance community safety.

In the words of one prisoner, “All prisoners once they leave jail believe they are alone in the world and can only relate to other prisoners. This is why another ex-prisoner (mentor) is fantastic as being the tool in changing the way they make decisions out of fear. If I knew this stuff before I never would of come to jail.”

Above: Marngoneet Correctional Centre’s Wayne Harper pictured with Deakin University’s Project Coordinator Clair Seppings and Deakin University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joe Graffam