Lawyer and Sisters Inside CEO Debbie Kilroy has called on the Palaszczuk Government to fully fund Sisters Inside programs that support every girl who is charged with an offence.
Ms Kilroy said community had witnessed successive governments enforcing the same youth justice policies and this had not created safer communities.
“Safer communities come when you support all children at risk and you provide them with programs that have been proven to work,” Ms Kilroy said.
“We are asking this State Government to direct the millions it has available for youth justice programs into strategies that work.”
“We know we have the programs that will stop children from reoffending.”
Ms Kilroy said of the 62 girls Sisters Inside worked with in the last two years, 46 had been successfully directed away from the carceral system, and 50 girls are not in contact with child protection. Almost all of the girls Sisters Inside works with are girls of colour and most are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
“With increased resourcing of programs like ours we can create safer communities, we can stop the harm being perpetrated against children and we can help at-risk children build better lives.”
Ms Kilroy called on the State Government to fully fund the grassroots organisations that have been successfully supporting at-risk children for decades.
“We have the numbers that prove our way works,” she said. “For Sisters Inside that means from today forward we believe every girl must have access to programs that work.”
“Our girls are going on to finish university, to have children who do not come into contact with child protection, to have full lives away from the carceral system.”
“The answer is programs that move girls away from the system and continue to support them as they move into safe accommodation, move into the workforce and away from the harm that has been done to them as children.”
Without ensuring access to programs that work to support them, the State Government will be condemning all children charged with an offence to a life within the carceral system.
“The State must be held accountable for the harm it has perpetrated and the ongoing harm these policies will cause,” Ms Kilroy said. “The children you see today who are carrying knives, who are coming into the justice system, have been harmed by the system.”
“The State has to stop harming our children. Stop the harm that happens while children are in state care and the harm that occurs when they are locked up in prisons.”
Learn more about Sisters Inside here: sistersinside.com.au
Debbie Kilroy: 0419 762 474
How can you help?
The Sisters Inside Fund for Children supports children of women in the criminal justice system to choose their own future free of the burdens so commonly felt while their mother is in prison.
#Free Her Campaign
This campaign has been set up by Debbie Kilroy, CEO of Sisters Inside Inc. The funds raised will be used to release people from prison and pay warrants so they are not imprisoned.