Arunta Freecall Hotline – It can be difficult, and expensive, for women prisoners to engage with community services whilst in prison. ARUNTA is the free call system which links women prisoners with agencies. Since late 2019, women prisoners in Gatton have been able call Sisters Inside direct during pre-established times (currently 8-10 am Tuesdays and 1-3 pm Wednesdays). Whilst primarily targeted at supporting women in preparation for release, the service can also provide support, information and referral in response to any requests from women in prison.
Anti-Violence Program – Almost every woman prisoner has lived with violence, and often this has contributed to her imprisonment. In 2019, Sisters Inside received funding to provide counselling and support in Gatton, similar to the Sexual Assault Program but with a wider focus on all forms of violence against women. Our Anti-Violence Worker mainly provides individual (crisis or longer term) counselling with women prisoners who have experienced domestic and family violence and/or sexual assault, or related issues arising from imprisonment. The program also occasionally runs educational and support groups about violence with women prisoners.
Gatton Re-Entry Program – The majority of women prisoners have been in prison before and it is clear that lack of support during the transition from prison contributes to high return rates. This Program aims to reduce the number of women who return to prison. Since early 2019, our 3 Re-entry Workers have supported women prisoners for up to 3 months’ pre-release to identify and arrange to meet their post-release needs. On the day of release, we make sure that each woman’s immediate survival needs are met (e.g. transport to accommodation, access to food). We then provide individual and family post-release advocacy, referral and practical support for 6 months, and arrange support for longer for women who want this. This includes supporting women to meet their (often competing) obligations to statutory authorities (e.g. Probation & Parole, Centrelink and Child Safety).
Supreme Court Bail (SCB) Support Program – Approximately 40% of all women prisoners in Queensland are on remand, with many being refused bail due to homelessness or lack of community mental health services. Sisters Inside has supported eligible women to apply for Supreme Court Bail since 2003 – initially as an unfunded program (jointly with UQ legal students and graduates) in SEQ. In 2019 our funded program was extended to include women in Gatton. A dedicated SCB Worker interviews women in Gatton to assess their eligibility for Supreme Court Bail, supports eligible women to make application to the court, and is available in court to provide advocacy and support. Other Sisters Inside workers may help women to make arrangements to apply for bail (e.g. access to housing or health services) and offer support following release. Since 2003, the program has had a 100% success rate amongst eligible women.
Parole Support – Many women stay in prison beyond their parole date. This service supports women in Gatton in relation to parole and sentencing matters. Established in 2019, the service ensures that women can address their post-release needs whilst in prison; leave prison as soon as possible; and successfully stay out of prison following release. This includes helping women to navigate the corrections system – assisting with their parole applications, arranging accommodation and other essentials for getting parole, advocating directly with the Parole Board, explaining the parole process to women, and helping women follow up parole applications or rejections. We also support women who breach parole and respond to parole suspensions.
View our other Programs & Services
For Mums & Kids
For Young People
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The Sisters Inside Fund for Children supports children of women in the criminal justice system to choose their own future free of the burdens so commonly felt while their mother is in prison.
#Free Her Campaign
This campaign has been set up by Debbie Kilroy, CEO of Sisters Inside Inc. The funds raised will be used to release people from prison and pay warrants so they are not imprisoned.