Helping female prisoners transition back into the community

4 November 2020|Community News| Off Comments off on Helping female prisoners transition back into the community|

A NEW 12-month pilot program is helping prisoners reintegrate into the community upon their release.

The Welcome Back(Pack) program is a joint venture between the Tasmanian Government, the Tasmanian Leaders Program and Dress for Success that will provide women leaving prison with a support pack to assist them as they return to their communities.

“The Welcome Back(pack) program is aimed at equipping prisoners leaving the Mary Hutchinson Women’s Prison with a backpack, set of clothing, toiletries and information card detailing ways to access local support services.,” Minister for Corrections and local Member for Clark Elise Archer said.

“This initiative is being led by participants from the 2019 Tasmanian Leaders Program and has my full support as Minister.

“The project will complement the services already provided to women as they are released from prison and I applaud the Tasmanian Leaders Program team for driving this initiative and teaming up with Dress for Success.”

Ms Archer said she was pleased to launch the initiative with the support of Dress for Success chief executive officer Amanda French, Welcome Back(Pack) project director Emily Chase, and Mary Hutchinson Women’s Prison correctional supervisor Fleur Brown.

“Approximately 200 women are released from the Mary Hutchinson Women’s Prison each year and the Tasmanian Prison Service has been working with the project team to help implement the pilot program, with backpacks already being provided to women as they leave the prison,” she said.

“This number of people is ideal for a pilot program to gauge its success and assess expansion opportunities.”

Dress for Success is an organisation that empowers women to obtain economic independence by providing them with work appropriate attire, job support mentoring, access to career development workshops and a supportive network to enable them to move forward and achieve self-sufficiency through gainful employment.

“Supporting the Welcome Back(Pack) project was a no brainer for Dress for Success,” Ms French said.

“Our aim is to empower women to achieve economic independence through meaningful employment, and giving women a helping hand on their transition back to the community is a definite step in that direction.

“We hope that by interacting with the women exiting the prison system that they will come to us when they start looking to re-engage in the workforce, and we will be there to support them.

“The feedback we’ve received so far has been so positive and has indicated that we are making a difference to the lives of these women.

“Hopefully this introduction will help them get back into the workforce and make a meaningful contribution to their communities.”

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