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The Elders visiting program (EVP) is an initiative of the Northern Territory (NT) Government Department of Correctional Services, and aims to assist in reducing high recidivism rates in NT prisons, as well as provide cultural and community links to incarcerated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
The program recognises that cultural contact with community Elders can improve the reintegration prospects of Indigenous offenders by maintaining links to community and culture while in a correctional centre. The EVP aims to provide an important cultural link between Indigenous prisoners and corrections staff by advising staff on cultural and community issues that may impact on a prisoner’s behaviour or ability to address their offending.
The Elders involved in the program keep the community informed of the prisoner’s progress and correctional centre processes, such as attending funerals and conducting sorry business. They assist corrections staff and prisoners to work through the difficulties that a prisoner is likely to face upon their release, as well as striving to continue assisting prisoners while they transition back into their community.
The program currently operates in the Darwin and Alice Springs Correctional Centres, as well as the Don Dale Juvenile Centre. Communities involved in the EVP include Ngukurr, Beswick/Burunga, Kalkaringji, Lajamanu, Groote Eylandt, Tiwi, Hermannsburg, Yuendumu, and the Barkly and Gove regions. There are plans to expand the program into Central Australia and Arnhem Land.
Abstract adapted from Northern Territory Government Department of Correctional Services
Northern Territory Government
Department of Correctional Services
Level 2, Old Admiralty Towers
68 The Esplanade
Darwin NT 0800
GPO Box 3196
Darwin NT 0801
Ph: (08) 8999 5511