By David Salvaire
A senior researcher at Curtin University says the rehabilitation program created by executed Bali Nine member Myuran Sukumaran could benefit WA prisoners.
The program established five years ago is a business model that allows inmates to sell artworks through local shops and use the profits to buy arts materials and receive an income.
Dr Dot Goulding from Curtin University, who spent time with Mr Sukumaran at the Kerobokan prison, is critical of the state government’s current rehabilitation models.
“Most of the programs have never been evaluated to see how effective they are.
“They don’t encourage prisoners to look inwardly at themselves and reflect on the harm they’ve done to their victims, their families and communities,” Dr Goulding says.
“A key aspect of the program established by Sukumaran is the personal development of the prisoners through the mentoring they received and gave.”
Corrective Services Arts Coordinator Abdul Abdullah says the programs in place in WA rehabilitate offenders through education.
“There’s a direct link between engagement with these programs and reduced reoffending after the prisoner is released.
“It’s holistic, just by being a student they’re working towards improving themselves,” he says.
Currently in WA, inmates are allowed to purchase their own art materials through prison canteens but can only put 10 items a year up for sale in exhibitions.
Dr Goulding says the Kerobokan prison program needs adjusting before it can work in WA.
“We have a different culture and a different corrective services system so an adaptation of that model may work.
“We just want to open the discussion and see what we can do with what we’ve already got to make rehabilitation more effective rather than just tough,” she says.
“To change things we have to get access to people in corrective services who have the ability to make decisions and this is not easy.”