Observing the Strong Culture, Strong Families program as an innovative indigenous justice/prison program designed by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal male detainees and their children

Observing the Strong Culture, Strong Families program as an innovative indigenous justice/prison program designed by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal male detainees and their children

The seminar presents the findings of research generated from a formalised collaboration and partnership between the two presenters, Deborah Evans who is CEO of Tjillari Justice Aboriginal Corporation and Associate Professor Deirdre Howard-Wagner who is a Senior Fellow in CAEPR. This collaboration emerged from the researcher being approached by Tjillari Justice Aboriginal Corporation (‘Tjillari’) to assist with the research needs of the organisation. It is an example of community-initiated rather than researcher-led research.

The objective of the research observations was to understand and explain the program in the context of (1) parenting in prison and the creation of positive parenting experiences, (2) connecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees to family, identity and culture in the context of desistance and restorative justice; and, (3) understanding the program as an innovative justice program. The research also asks important questions about the policy and wider justice context in which such programs are developed and take place.

The presentation addresses such considerations while reflecting on the field observations of Tjillari Justice Strong Culture Strong Families workshops held on 9 July 2018 and 21 January 2019 in the Alexander Maconochie Centre.


Deborah Evans is the founder and CEO of Tjillari Justice Aboriginal Corporation. Deborah is a Stolen Generations survivor from the Gija nation in the East Kimberley area of Western Australia. She has worked in education and justice in Western Australia, Queensland and the ACT. She has received a number of awards for her community work and has had Ministerial appointments to Education Advisory Committees, has been appointed to the Domestic Violence Prevention Council, was a member of the Galambany Circle Sentencing Court and is now a member of the Sentence Administration Board (Parole Board) in the ACT.

Associate Professor Deirdre Howard-Wagner is a sociologist and socio-legal scholar whose expertise is in the areas of justice, development, locality-based service delivery and state governmentality in the neoliberal age. She has engaged in collaborative research in relation to urban First Nations development; urban First Nations organisations and service delivery enablement; racism, whiteness and race relations; urban indigenous justice; innovative indigenous-led justice; urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage, state governmentality and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy practices, invisibility in the city; and, neoliberalism in urban contexts. She is co-editor of three international books: Indigenous Justice: New Tools, Approaches, and Spaces (2018, Palgrave Macmillan), The Neoliberal State, Recognition and Indigenous Rights: New paternalism to new imaginings, (2018 ANU Press), and Unveiling Whiteness in the Twenty-First Century: Global Manifestations, Transdisciplinary Interventions (2015, Lexington Books). She is under contract to produce a monograph for Routledge on Indigenous Invisibility in the City: Successful Urban Indigenous Community Development Hidden in Plain Sight.

Date & time

Wed 27 Mar 2019, 12.30–1.30pm


24 Kingsley Pl, Acton ACT 0200, Australia


Deborah Evans, Chief Executive Officer, Tjillari Justice Aboriginal Corporation & Associate Professor Deirdre Howard-Wagner, Deputy Director (Interim), CAEPR


Annette Kimber
6125 0587


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