A new lease on life

A new lease on life

Transitional manager Roode and employment coordinator Carole with prisoner Gary who is up for parole soon. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

Karnet Prison Farm in Serpentine is preparing for its annual prisoner Inside Out Expo with a focus on preparing prisoners for successful reintegration back into society.

On March 17 prisoners will have an opportunity to talk to a number of organisations, which may be able to assist them with life outside prison through training and employment opportunities.

Karnet Prison employment coordinator Carole said the expo was a good way to start planning for life on the outside.

“The Inside Out Expo brings a wealth of resources together in the areas of employment, education and transitional services,” she said.

“It provides prisoners with access to service information and about current opportunities available to, the support available for helping with a successful transition back into the community upon release.”

Carole said the expo allowed prisoners to speak face-to-face with service providers in a comfortable environment.

“It is important to build good relations with communities and gain an understanding into what skills may be required with the aim of post-release prisoners having a greater chance of finding work on their return,” she said.

“It gives somebody a second chance.”

A minimum-security prison Karnet is home to about 300 offenders with crimes ranging from minor to serious.

Transitional manager Roode said the expo was a vehicle to point prisoners in the right direction.

“While some mistakes are bigger that others the prisoner still deserve a second chance,” he said.

“The expo makes the transition into the community easier.

“It is a networking tool, and helps the offenders realise that they have responsibilities, they are part of the community and they can make a meaningful contribution.”

Prisoner Steve who was almost within 12 months of his release from his six and a half year prison sentence said he attended the expo last year.

“It was a very positive experience,” he said.

“I’m going to it again for sure.”

Another prisoner Gar who was nearing the end of his seven-year sentence said it was good to see there were options available to him.

“I am ready to get back out there,” he said.

“I’m excited but overwhelmed and the expo will help a lot.”

Gary, who has a Cert II in cabinet making was hoping to meet with future employers at the expo and is seeking an apprenticeship.
Superintendent Ray said employment was a critical element of rehabilitation.

“Having a job or being more competitive in the workplace are important in trasntiioning a prisoner back into the community and helps keep them focused on their future goals,” he said.

“Our job at Karnet is to give prisoners opportunities to acquire the skills that will improve their employability post release.

“The expo has been a great success in the past and the staff involved do a fantastic job.

“Our educational and vocational training program at Karnet is very successful, equipping prisoners with skills to successfully return to being productive members of society.”

If a local business is need of skilled labour please contact Carole on 9526 3272.