The ACT’s first formal Justice Reinvestment project, Yarrabi Bamirr (meaning ‘Walk Tall’ in the Ngunnawal language) is a family-centric support model working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to improve life outcomes and reduce or prevent contact with the justice system, particularly trans-generational offending.

The program is delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to assist with referrals of potential clients from the Alexander Maconochie Centre. Drawing on the expertise of these Aboriginal-led agencies means that local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander families will now have access to the Yarrabi Bamirr model of support. The program is targeted to Aboriginal and Torres strait islander families with children that have extensive experience with the ACT justice system and have experienced intergenerational trauma.

Ongoing funding for the program was delivered in the 2018-19 ACT Budget Review.

Justice Reinvestment Family Trial

Winnunga Nimmityjah delivered the Winnunga Justice Reinvestment Family Trial from April 2017.

The objective of the trial is to deliver programs and promote ongoing participation opportunities that address families’ complex needs by using a comprehensive family-centric approach that is co‑designed with the client and their families. The model involves four critical elements:

Strong Connected Neighbourhoods Program 1

The trial provides intensive case management for offenders and their families led by Aboriginal agencies and Aboriginal staff, many of whom have existing networks within the community and can establish trust with clients. Support is coordinated through the development of family plans using a strengths based family centric approach with shared goals and measures of success across key service domains (justice, education, health and community services).

An evaluation of the Winnunga Justice Reinvestment Trial has been completed. The evaluation was conducted by the Australian National University Centre for Social Research and Methods..

The aim of this trial was to empower families to be self-reliant in navigating the system to get the right help from the right place at the right time. During the trial, drug and alcohol counselling, midwifery services, dental services, psychologist and psychiatrist services and advocacy services were significant increased for participants.

The evaluation of the trial showed an increase in services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders had a positive impact on the participants and their families. The evaluation concluded that Winnunga provided a proactive, intensive and problem-oriented system of case management. The participants reported significant improvements in their family, personal and social well-being. The evaluation also confirmed that the Trial is helping keep families together, preventing homelessness and keeping people out of prison.

The outcomes and recommendations from the evaluation have been used to inform the funding and operating model for future service provision. The ACT Government has developed a model that will allow more organisations supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to become service providers in this space.

The evaluation report can be viewed here