In May 2019 Ally, Chloe, Frances, Vicki, Jess and Kaz became the founding members of the WJN Advisory Panel. These passionate and inspirational women with lived experience want to change the way women in prison are viewed by society. The panel will soon be releasing a very special book which will be provided to every woman in custody to tell them that they are not forgotten, and that people care. We look forward to providing updates on their work and project achievements.
The WJN Advisory Panel (WJN-AP) is underpinned by the Lived Experience Framework for NSW 2018 (Mental health commission, NSW). WJN-LE framework utilises a holistic trauma-informed, person-centred, strengths-based approach.
Three focus areas are:
● service action – shifting the way things are done
● leadership action – demonstrating and teaching
● systems-level action – advocacy, education and employment opportunities
The WJN-AP will advise and make recommendations to the WJN Board of Directors regarding the policies, practices, services and emerging needs of women and girls affected by the criminal justice system or at risk of the criminal justice system .
The WJN-AP works to improve services to women and girls by:
● Providing a forum to facilitate information sharing and resolutions of the effects of the criminal justice systems
● Discussing and planning strategic direction for evidence-based practice
● Utilising the collective expertise, skills and experience in planning events, including advocacy and campaigns
● Providing recommendations to the WJN board on the best practices in service delivery
● Promote Women and girls affected by and at risk of the criminal justice system in a positive and resourceful manner
The future of prisons beyond the pandemic
Women’s experiences in the criminal justice system
By Zahra Stardust, August 2020
The COVID-19 crisis has spun the justice sector into disarray, demanding that we find new ways to organise society. As women in prison mobilise to support one another through the pandemic, their stories demonstrate that prisons never worked, but that there are viable alternatives. Despite its loss of funding and program restrictions, the Women’s Justice Network shows why we need action now more than ever.
Women’s Justice Network would like to thank Zahra Stardust, one of our mentors, for writing the following candid article. It captures the impact of COVID-19 and challenges our thinking of the future of prisons.