Prisoners give cycle joyrides to aged

Prisoners give cycle joyrides to aged

Two residents get a trishaw joyride from a soon-to-be-released prisoner

Women prisoners preparing for re-entry into the community have been volunteering their time taking aged care residents in Bentley for a cycle on specially designed trishaws.

The partnership between the Department of Justice, Cycling Without Age and SwanCare Residential Aged Care Community has been a cherished experience for all involved.

Once a fortnight, supervised minimum security prisoners from the Boronia Pre-release Centre for Women visit their aged care neighbours, offering them a gentle spin on trishaws along safe ride routes around the Bentley Park Retirement Community.

Since last April, there’s been a regular queue of would-be passengers lining up to have a go.

Corrective Services Commissioner Brad Royce said the collaboration assists prisoners’ rehabilitation and reintegration prospects, while providing an opportunity to give back to the community.

“The women at Boronia get a sense of personal achievement and pride from this partnership and the joy on their passengers’ faces is clear to see,” he said.

“Importantly, women who will soon re-enter the community feel that they are trusted to make a positive contribution to society and commit to turning their lives around.”

Manager family and community services at Boronia Sue Andrews said two particularly dedicated prisoners had provided the pedal power for more than 40 trishaw rides, equating to over 30 volunteer hours.

“The women undertake a two-day training program to become a trishaw ‘pilot’ which also allows them the opportunity to continue volunteer work post-release,” Ms Andrews said.

Many of the elderly passengers have mobility issues but ride in comfort in the trishaw’s front-facing dual passenger seat.

“We’ve seen some of the aged care passengers make brand new friends, sitting next to people they haven’t met in their community before,” Cycling Without Age Perth program coordinator Karen O’Connor said.

“One of the biggest benefits to everyone involved is the pure joy associated with cycling. It invokes memories of first rides as a child, of adventures into the neighbourhood and nature.”