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Two groups of prisoners from Greenough Regional Prison, near Geraldton in Western Australia (WA) are taking part in a land conservation project in the Greater Geraldton region.
The multi-agency collaboration, which delivers accredited Conservation and Land Management training to prisoners, is aimed at improving the local environment as well as prisoner education and employability, particularly among Indigenous prisoners.
Acting Assistant Superintendent Offender Services Dean Parisse said one group of men and one group of women from the prison had recently begun the 20 week campaign to address some of the region’s key biodiversity issues, with particular emphasis on the restoration of traditional lands. Work sites have been chosen in consultation with project partner Durack Institute of Technology, and complement the Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management course. The work will involve supervised prisoners undertaking weed mapping and removal, seed collection, native plant propagation, dune restoration, fencing and revegetation as well as some heritage training.
The project is primarily a partnership between the Department of Corrective Services (Greenough Regional Prison), Durack Institute of Technology, and Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC), and was approved for a Commonwealth Government Caring for our Country grant.
Greg Burrows, Indigenous Facilitator for the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC), a not-for-profit organisation which supports sustainable projects, said 'the original driver for this project was to increase the number of Aboriginal people working in jobs associated with managing country.'
Assistant Superintendent Parisse said the prison had grabbed the opportunity to improve the chances of prisoners finding employment upon release. 'It’s well known that employment upon release has a major impact on whether a prisoner returns to the system. This project has some clear benefits for all of us,' he said.
Source: Department of Corrective Services Western Australia