Innovative community-led response to alarming Aboriginal youth incarceration rates

 Press release sent out on behalf of the Aboriginal Youth Healing Centre (AYHC):

NbrownDavid Peachey Foundation 2

Pictured above:Two of the prominent Aboriginal supporters of this project Professor Ngiare Brown (left) and David Peachey

An Aboriginal Youth Healing Centre (AYHC) currently being planned for Western NSW will use proven techniques to reduce crime, unacceptably high incarceration rates and recidivism.

Local Aboriginal leaders are working together with local agencies, the University of Wollongong, NACCHO and the David Peachey Foundation to develop the service, which will draw together best-practice prevention methods with cultural immersion to stem the flow of young people into gaols and detention centres.

“It’s time for us to stand up and acknowledge jail doesn’t work for our young people,” said Uncle Isaac Gordon, senior Brewarrina community member and Walgett ACLO, “it doesn’t work as a deterrent and it doesn’t work as a rehabilitation or education service.”

The Centre will engage at risk and vulnerable young people; provide diversionary opportunities to help break the cycle of offending, incarceration and recidivism; build social capabilities; and ultimately improve health and social justice outcomes.

“We know from what we’ve seen in other places that when communities get active in taking care of their own kids and draw in top level professional services there is an impact. There’s an impact not only on the kids, but on the savings to taxpayers.  Jail is not only ineffective, it’s expensive,” Uncle Isaac Gordon said.

The AYHC will be established on a working property in the Orana region of western NSW, delivering programs that contribute to the education and training of young Aboriginal men in a supportive family environment. It is anticipated the property will be developed into a commercial, financially sustainable venture over time, engaging house parents, property managers, drovers and other expertise to oversee the running of the station.

“The Centre is about breaking the damaging patterns we see out here and establishing new patterns, using the foundations of our culture, heritage and community to build those patterns,” Uncle Isaac said.

“National and international evidence tells us that family, culture and kinship contribute to community cohesion and personal resilience,” said University of Wollongong’s Professor Ngiare Brown, who is working with the community leaders to develop the Centre

“Current studies show that strong cultural links and practices such as extended family, access to traditional land, revitalisation of traditional languages, learning dance and story, understanding traditional roles and responsibilities – are protective factors and improve childhood and adolescent resilience against emotional and behavioural problems,” Professor Brown said.

A proposal for resourcing of the project is going to Commonwealth and NSW Government departments.

Media contacts:

Uncle Isaac Gordon 0458 814705

Professor Ngiare Brown 0428 892960;

Superintendent Bob Noble 0419 610 430

One comment on “Innovative community-led response to alarming Aboriginal youth incarceration rates

  1. Hi NACCHO. I have developed a project to highlight Indigenous Mens Mental Health issues. Wondering who I could send it to in your network for someone to possible host it or adopt it. Cheers…David, mb: 0499080555

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