NEWS FROM VACRO
APRIL 2017 – SECOND CHANCE COFFEE LAUNCH
Her Excellency Governor of Victoria, The Hon. Linda Dessau AM, launched VACRO’s first social enterprise, giving participants on community work and from the Judy Lazarus Transition Centre the chance to get job-ready while giving back to the community.
Located in the forecourt of Sunshine Magistrates Court, Second Chance Coffee pairs up professional baristas with ex-prisoners or those transitioning out of the justice system. Profits will go towards VACRO’s Children’s Foundation.
Justin* says that the coffee cart has been an incredible opportunity, and provided him with a sense of direction.
“I’ve been inside a long time, being at Second Chance Coffee helped me feel normal. It made me think about how I communicate and I realised I enjoyed talking and interacting with people. I’ve found a new opportunity for my future as I have learnt to love the world of coffee”
Obtaining employment is the single biggest predictor for a successful transition back into the community from prison – but, getting a job can be very difficult for people with a criminal record.
Participants are provided with individualised training, work experience and the opportunity to give back by working in a social enterprise where all profits are used to support children with a parent in contact with the criminal justice system.
December 2017: Integrating the Indefensible
Rob Hulls announced the publication of this paper prepared for VACRO by the Centre for Innovative Justice in response to the Harper review. The purpose of the report was to consider the task of re-integration as the missing piece in the equation. As the Review itself noted, the reforms it has recommended will only achieve so much while they remain disconnected from what happens in the community. Social supports; employment; education; and positive social networks are just as crucial – including the capacity of an offender ‘to be viewed as a reformed…person by …the community’.
“This Paper calls for a conversation about the role of the community in responding to serious violent crime.. (and) asks what this obligation may look like at the pointy end – the responsibility to rehabilitate those who, as a community, we least want to embrace; the responsibility to integrate the indefensible.”
For a copy of Integrating the indefensible click the image below.
MARCH 2016 - LAUNCHING THE FAMILY LINKS EVALUATION REPORT
On March 3rd, the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, together with Monash University, launched 2 final research and evaluation reports on the topic of the 'families and children of offenders'. One of these reports -- the VACRO Family Links Geelong Pilot Project: Final Evaluation Report -- can be read here. Authored by Roger Hastrich, it contains the findings of the evaluation and a number of recommendations. You can also find out more about the Family Links Geelong program here.
JUNE 2015 - VISITING PARTNERS
Mark Burgess, GM Operations from WA’s only specialist non government provider of crime prevention services and programs, Outcare visited VACRO last week. The meeting was an opportunity for two similar organisations, VACRO and Outcare, to meet and discuss some of the common challenges both organisations are experiencing, particularly in the current changing fiscal environment. We discussed some of the current trends within the justice sector of each state and the current focus of our organisations in responding to our client’s needs.
L-R: Mark Burgess, GM Operations, Outcare; Carol Nikakis CEO, VACRO; and Bruce Brown, Dir. Client Services, VACRO
On his brief visit to Victoria, Paul Thompson, the Manager of Prisoners Aid ACT spent time talking with VACRO CEO Carol Nikakis. He also visited the Metropolitan Remand Centre (MRC) and the Judy Lazarus Transition Centre.
Paul Thompson, Mgr, Prisoners Aid ACT and Carol Nikakis, CEO, VACRO
APRIL 2015 - RELEASE OF KEY STATISTICS & RELINK LAUNCH
At the Corrections Victoria Stakeholder Forum, which was held on 9 April 2015, the Minister for Corrections, the Hon. Wade Noonan MP, informed stakeholders of his intention to release statistics on the corrections system on a regular basis, and foreshadowed that he would consult with stakeholders on the development of a statistical package.
In the interim, the Minister indicated that his office was working with Corrections Victoria to provide data to account for the gap in the provision of corrections statistics between 2011 and 2014. An interim publication has now been finalised and posted on the Corrections Victoria public webpage.
The document provides detailed demographic statistics on Victoria's prisoner population, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners, as well as a high level overview of the operation of Victoria's prison system between 2010 and 2014. Summary census data is also provided which highlights the evolving demographic and sentence profile of Victorian prisoners over the last decade.
RELINK was launched by the Hon. Wade Noonan MP, Minister for Corrections on April 8th 2015. ReLink is a statewide program delivering pre release preparation to participants in all release prisons.
The below photo of the Minister and the Relink Team Leader, is courtesy of Minister Noonan's twitter page
OCTOBER 2014 - RIDE TO WORK DAY
As part of Melbourne's annual Ride to Work Day held on Wednesday 15th October, Second Chance Cycles was asked by the North Fitzroy/Clifton Hill Branch of the Bendigo Bank to help riders get to work.
Jed, Sam and Val pumped tyres, adjusted brakes and chatted all things bikes while Ride to Wrokers ate a muffin and drank coffee. For their work, Bendigo Bank donated $500 to Second Chance Cycles and we collected $66 in gold coin donations.
Thanks to Yann Burden and lee Chia from the Bendigo Bank for organising the event.
SEPTEMBER 2014 - SKY WINS TWO MAJOR AWARDS
At the launch of Child Protection Week on the 9th of September 2014, Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge announced the 13th annual Robin Clark Memorial Awards. These awards recognise excellence and leadership in working with children, youth and families undertaken by community services and individuals in the sector.
VACRO’s Supporting Kids and Youth Program (SKY), which provides counselling services and educational resources for children and young people with a family member going through the criminal justice system, has been awarded the Department of Human Services’ Robin Clark Memorial Award.
SKY also received a National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) Play Your Part Award recognising inspiring prevention initiatives.
NOVEMBER 2013 - CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION SAUSAGE SIZZLE
To celebrate Social inclusion week in November, VACRO held sausage sizzles at two busy Melbourne locations. The sizzle was staffed by VACRO, Judy Lazarus Transition Centre residents and volunteers from Second Chance Cycles.
All money raised went towards the VACRO Children’s Foundation supporting programs for children with a parent in the adult criminal justice system.