Panel Info
Unique IDSU0196
Application Details
Entrant Club(s):Law For Change x CRIMSOC
Entry completed by:Emily Mullaly
Club Role:Vice President
Email:Email hidden; Javascript is required.
Category SelectionReminder that events and initiatives must have occurred in the eligible period: 7 September 2020 to 12 September 2021
Which category is this nomination for?Best Community Event or Initiative 2021
Name of event or initiative:The Prison Education Project Te Wero I Te Ao
Brief overview of the event or initiative:

Law for Change UC in collaboration with the Department of Corrections, Community Law Canterbury and Crimsoc have continued to run and develop The Prison Education Project, a volunteer-run initiative with law and criminal justice students, who deliver interactive seminars to youth offenders at Christchurch Men’s and recently Christchurch Women's prisons.

What were the aims of the event or initiative?

The ultimate aim of our project has been to address and contribute towards reducing recidivism among offenders. As an organisation we acknowledge the importance of providing positive experiences to offenders while incarcerated. We have established this Project to provide a practical foundation of knowledge and skills that can be used upon release. To date, the subject of these seminars have included employment, tenancy, family law, wellbeing, money, protection orders and harassment. This project also provides worthwhile and practical volunteering opportunities for law and criminal justice students at UC by enabling further exploration of their interest in corrections.

How did you make it happen?

With the support of Community Law Canterbury the project has successfully delivered seminars to the Youth Unit at both Christchurch Men’s and Women’s Prison. Inmates have actively engaged in our seminars and provided constructive feedback to ensure our service best tailors for them.
Students who volunteer have received various training from the Department of Corrections and Community Law Canterbury. These skills will help our volunteers within the prison and will stay with them throughout their careers. Volunteers experience first-hand going into the prison and working with inmates, the kind of real-life experience that cannot be gained in a lecture hall.

How did you make it better?

This year the project expanded, almost doubling in size, as Corrections asked that we expand into the Christchurch Women's Prison. This allows us to increase the number of volunteering opportunities for UC students both as seminar and administrative volunteers.
Expanding into womens required consideration of different topics that would uniquely benefit the women. As the content we have provided and the approach we have previously taken with the youth offenders at Christchurch Mens will not benefit the women in the same way. This provided an opportunity for our volunteers to develop new skills and consider issues with a different worldview.

How did you show your commitment to sustainability?

We understand that those who offend are at a greater risk of reoffending, particularly those in the Youth Prison Unit. It is inherently unsustainable to continue the intergenerational cycle of crime that burdens both the justice system and those who are party to it.
Topics covered in our seminars aim to provide youth offenders with the necessary tools and knowledge to form better relationships and habits both inside and outside of Prison. We hope that they will feel empowered through the knowledge and break the intergenerational cycle reducing recidivism and alleviate some of the strain on an otherwise unsustainable system.