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Webinar: The boundaries between Australian disability services and prisons

28 June 2022
12.00pm – 1.00pm AEST
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Launch of the ‘There’s not just a gap, there’s a chasm: The boundaries between Australian disability services and prisons' report.

People with disability, particularly intellectual disability, are overrepresented in the Australian criminal justice system. People with disability are a disadvantaged sub-population within the already disadvantaged prison population. However, there has been limited research in Australia on the intersection of disability and correctional services, particularly since the advent of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has changed the service landscape. This webinar reports on results from an exploratory project looking at gaps in services for people with disability in prisons and post-release. The project team interviewed 28 people working at the intersection of disability and the criminal justice system in the ACT, NSW, and Victoria. The webinar will focus on the 'institutional thoughtlessness' characterising the prison environment, which leads to marginalisation of people with disability; and whether and to what extent people with disability can access NDIS services while in custody and post-release.


Guest speaker - Dr. Mindy Sotiri (BSW, PhD) is the Executive Director of the Justice Reform Initiative, a national advocacy organisation looking to reduce incarceration around Australia. Mindy has worked in criminal justice system settings as an advocate, community sector practitioner, activist, academic, researcher, and policy and service delivery reform specialist for more than twenty years. During this time, much of her work has been focused on advocacy around decarceration and building sustainable community-based and community led pathways outside of prison settings. Her PhD (2003) explored the purpose of imprisonment. She was also a 2016 Churchill Fellow (with a project exploring international community led post-release services).

Dr. Fiona Buick is a Senior Lecturer at UNSW, Canberra. Fiona’s research focuses on the role of organisational culture and human resource management in enabling group and organizational effectiveness within the public sector. Research areas of focus also includes disability research capacity, flexible working, employee well-being, structural change, management capability, performance management and inter-organizational working.

Professor Helen Dickinson is a Professor of Public Service Research in the Public Service Research Group at the School of Business, University of New South Wales, Canberra. Her expertise is in public services, particularly in relation to topics such as governance, policy implementation and stewardship of 4th industrial revolution technologies. Helen has published nineteen books and over eighty peer-reviewed journal articles on these topics and is also a frequent commentator within the mainstream media. She is co-editor of the Journal of Health, Organization and Management. Helen is also a board member of the Consumer Policy Research Centre. In 2015 Helen was made a Victorian Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia and in 2019 awarded a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. In 2021 Helen was named one of Apolitical’s 100 most influential academics in government.

Dr. Shannon Dodd is a Lecturer in Criminology at The Australian Catholic University. Her research focuses on issues arising out of Australia’s correctional systems, including the use of different technologies like body worn cameras and re-entry processes like parole.

Dr. Caroline Doyle is a Senior Lecturer at the Public Service Research Group in the School of Business UNSW Canberra. Caroline studies how policymakers can develop and implement policies to respond to social problems such as crime and violence. Caroline is also the President of Prisoners Aid (ACT), a non-government organisation that assists detainees and their families and friends in the ACT.

Dr. Sophie Yates is a Research Fellow at the Public Service Research Group, UNSW Canberra. She is interested in a gender and inequality lens on public administration and public services and has published on topics including family violence, disability, and post-prison services.