‘I feel like a butterfly that’s been reborn’

‘I feel like a butterfly that’s been reborn’

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The Director General of the Department of Justice Adam Tomison giving certificates to residents at Boronia Pre-release Centre for women. Photograph - Aaron Van Rongen.

The room was filled with joy, claps and music when a group of 21 local residents received education certificates after completing their prison terms at the minimum security Boronia Pre-release Centre for women in Bentley last Thursday.

The women received certificates in fields including construction, kitchen operation, fitness and community services.

The Director General of the Department of Justice Adam Tomison handed out the awards and said the day was a very special one for the women.

“These women have come through the prison system to the point where they are ready, or almost ready for release back into our community,” he said.

“The centre provided the women there with an opportunity to maximise their potential to make that transition with new skills and confidence.”

Superintendent Kymberley McKay also attended the event and congratulated a resident for her resilience and commitment to her vocational studies.

The resident was named as adult learner of the year for undertaking a Bachelor in Commerce at Edith Cowan University.

“I dropped out when I was in year 10, so for me this has been a blessing in disguise,” she said.

“I came to jail when I was 19-years-old and I never thought I would have done something like this.”

The resident will be completing her time in 2021 and in the meantime she will be completing two units this semester.

Another resident who is being released in June 2020 received a number of certificates including project management, work health and safety, community services, horticulture and visual arts.

“During my time here I chose the top fi ve most active industries I knew I could do,” she said.

“We are all criminals here but I feel like a butterfly that’s being reborn.

“I appreciate life so much more now and I don’t intend on coming back.”

At last month’s 14th year annual gala day, the women organised the event with members of the public who were invited to purchase items which included donated prisoner artworks as well as food, craft and plants grown by the women.

This year a total of $21,076 was raised and donated to the Cockburn not-for profit organisation Assisting Your Life to Achieve (AYLA) which helps communities, individuals and families to achieve independence and provides crisis assistance.