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2018 Award News for Correctional Education in Australia
Correctional Education in WA presented with DOJ’s Highest Award

In a further example of WA’s expanding holistic correctional education programming, and in a year when WA saw a record number of adult prisoners in its custodial facilities, as well as an all-time high in the number of offenders being managed in community corrections, it was the Education, Employment and Transitional Services Unit (EETS) staff who were presented the DoJ’s highest award, the Director General’s Innovation Award. The initiative also won the Working with Aboriginal People Award for its West Kimberley Regional Prison Education Team and Driver Education Program for their work increasing positive outcomes for Aboriginal people in helping gain employment.
2018 saw a significant increase in the expansion of EETS services, as it commenced taking responsibility for linking highly disadvantaged prisoners with service providers who offer post-release support, with agencies such as the Departments of Housing and Transport, Medicare, Fines Enforcement Registry, Registry of Births Deaths and Marriage, not-for-profits rehabilitation facilities and potential employers. EETS also forged a new working partnership with an Aboriginal transitional services consortium to help Aboriginal prisoners re-enter their communities.
In presenting the Innovation Award, the DG Dr Adam Tomison, said “This team –has provided significant assistance to Aboriginal people in gaining employment and making a substantial contribution to the community by helping reduce recidivism.”
“Today’s we recognise and celebrate our achievements and sharing those learnings across Justice, as we find new and more effective ways of working together to deliver a holistic justice service to the community.”

ACEA State Teachers of the Year

Victoria:

Nisha Walker, Dhurringale Prison, Spoken and Written English, TESOL and Numeracy. Nominated by: Julie Athanasiou, Box Hill Institute
Nominated by 89 students in the Teacher of the Year category in internal awards at Box Hill Institute, Nisha has excellent rapport with her students!
Nisha incorporates games, singing and the “Storybook Project” into her teaching and learning initiatives. The students learn to read and a storybook, which they record onto a CD to send to their children. She also teaches students to edit with music. The project also involves recording the students reading poems and letters.
Nisha involves singing in her lessons, as she finds rhythm helpful in memorising words, and that the group nature of singing brings a sense of community to the class.

Western Australia:

Vasanti Sunderland, Bandyup Women’s Prison, New Opportunities for Women. Nominated by Delphine McFarlane
Vasanti has worked in Adult Education Programming for close to 23 years with DoJ, TAFE, community and government groups. She has lectured across a range of Access and Equity Programs including tutoring in prisons for over 15 years through the DoJ.
Ms Sunderland has produced training manuals for the highly successful ‘New Opportunities for Women’ (NOW) program, comprising five units, each with three manuals: student resource manual, student workbook and tutors manual.
Vasanti has developed a Gaining Access Through Education (GATE) unit ‘Communication for Living’ into ‘Keeping the Connection – Story Writing for children and families’. The course has proven to be an outstanding success with women using literacy, computing and creative skills to write and publish a story in book form at Bandyup, Boronia and Wandoo women’s facilities. This success has led to the course now being offered to male prisoners at Casuarina Prison.
‘The impact of this program has been profound, it not only develops educational skills but deepens the student’s understanding of familial relationships and their own significant function within them. A recent indication of this initiative’s success is the preparedness of Curtin University to support and fund the ‘Keeping the Connection’ course for female prisoners, and increase access to IT for prisoners by facilitating the purchase and allocation of Panasonic laptops to students for use in this course.