Evaluation highlights benefits of culturally appropriate reporting site

A culturally appropriate reporting site for First Nations clients has been deemed a relaxed, comfortable and well-connected space by individuals using the service, stakeholders and ACT Corrective Services (ACTCS) according to the Yeddung Mura External Reporting Site Pilot Evaluation Report.

The ACTCS initiative established an external reporting site at Yeddung Mura Aboriginal Corporation in Fadden in July 2021 to facilitate a culturally safe space for those on community-based sentences or parole orders. One day each week, an ACTCS Community Corrections Officer and a First Nations Cultural Engagement Officer attend Yeddung Mura to meet with First Nations clients.

Minister for Corrections Emma Davidson said the site contributes to the ACT Government’s vision to reduce recidivism and incarceration of First Nations people.

“People who enter our criminal justice system need the right support to leave the system for good and be welcome in the community,” Minister Davidson said.

“This program recognises the challenges that First Nations people face in the ACT criminal justice system and provides culturally appropriate support. Not only is this a dedicated First Nations reporting site, but Yeddung Mura also offers access to mental health and wellbeing programs, a family, domestic and sexual violence prevention program, Yarning Circles, connection to Elders and support for parents and caregivers.

“Through Yeddung Mura, more First Nations people have received the right support to rebuild strong ties with the community to reduce recidivism.”

The qualitative evaluation included semi-structured interviews with clients, stakeholders and staff. Interviewees were overwhelmingly supportive of the external reporting site, with a Yeddung Mura staff member saying that the approach was sensitive to culture and progressive.

Priestley Obed, CEO of Yeddung Mura said this is a great example of the government collaborating with the community and implementing Aboriginal community-driven solutions for the improvement of justice outcomes.

“We hope that, in the future, the directorate will collaborate with the community to implement more Aboriginal community-led solutions that will benefit clients,” Priestley said.

The evaluation indicates that improvements to the external reporting site model could consider expanding the current eligibility criteria, offering additional services or days covered at the sites, or expanding site locations.

ACTCS Acting Commissioner Bruno Aloisi said Corrective Services is committed to providing appropriate supports and services to clients.

“The positive experiences that clients, staff and other stakeholders expressed about the external reporting site not only demonstrates their benefits but will also assist us in our planning around future service delivery more broadly,” Mr Aloisi said.

“I thank the team at Yeddung Mura for their dedication and commitment to helping ACTCS clients feel socially and culturally supported.”

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