Post-prison release support experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in an urban setting

PhD thesis by Megan Williams – University of New South Wales

Megan Williams, a descendent of the Wiradjuri peoples of central NSW, received a Lowitja Institute student research grant, a writing bursary and a travel scholarship to support her PhD research. Megan’s research was also supported by a 12 month grant from the Indigenous Offender Capacity Building Grant at the Kirby Institute’s Justice Health Program.

Megan’s three-phased grounded theory study was at the intersection of criminal justice, health and social work, and aimed to explore post-prison release social support from an urban Aboriginal perspective, and its role in preventing reincarceration. The research identified a range of connective, practical, emotional and spiritual post-prison supports, as well as the timeliness of support, and the relationships in which support occurred to reduce risks for reincarceration. The research considered implications of these various supports for criminal justice and health policy and practice.

During the research process, two booklets of personal and Aboriginal community services stories were produced and distributed. Insights from the research were also used in the process of justice policy formulation, and in the design of a group discussion resource to accompany the Mad bastards feature film, in collaboration with Mibbinbah men’s health promotion charity. Throughout her PhD enrolment, Megan was a link person to the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, for both the University of Queensland and the University of New South Wales.

Megan was a lecturer at Muru Marri, the Aboriginal health unit in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at UNSW. Megan has since relocated to Western Sydney University and is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Health Research.

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