Supporting First Nations families with a parent in prison: the experience of Belonging to Family

Ms. Krystal Lockwood1 ,Susan Dennison, Anna Stewart, Lisa Broidy, Troy Allard and Nick Tilley


1Griffith University, Mt Gravatt, Australia,

With the rise of the overuse of incarceration, collateral consequences of incarceration are infiltrating Australia. For First Nations families this is endemic, where the number of families impacted are rising as the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous rates of imprisonment widens. The experiences of families that have a parent in prison are diverse; but we do know that families are more likely to be disadvantaged across many social and emotional well-being measures before, during, and after incarceration. One way we can learn how to provide effective support is by running theory driven evaluations of programs that are specifically designed to support families with a parent in prison. In this presentation, I will discuss the findings from a realist evaluation of Belonging to Family. Belonging to Family was established in 2011 to support Koori families as a parent returns home after being incarcerated at the Mid North Coast Correctional Centre, New South Wales. I focused my evaluation on how the program worked, drawing upon administrative documents, observational data, and interviews with participants and stakeholders. In this presentation, I will discuss; how the small-scale program addressed complex issues within complex systems; how the program supported diverse experiences between participants; and discuss the importance of incorporating First Nations values in the program as well as the evaluation. I will demonstrate how these observations should influence policies, programs, and practices impacting First Nations Peoples as well as families impacted by incarceration.


Biography:

Krystal Lockwood is a Dunghutti and Gumbaynggirr women who grew up in Armidale, NSW. She completed a Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice (Hons), MSc in Evidence Based Social Intervention, and is currently finishing her PhD at Griffith University focusing on supporting First Nations families with a parent in prison.

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