FISH ran two 10-week pilot Cultural Healing and Awareness Programs at Casuarina Prison for Aboriginal inmates commencing in Sep 2018 and Dec 2019.
The program was based upon principles established by Aboriginal Elder Koodah Cornwall and Mark Anderson who were involved in developing and running the successful Fairbridge Bindjareb Program and adapted it for the maximum-security setting.
The program ran for 10 sessions and involved mentoring from two generations of Stolen Generations survivors who were previously engaged in the justice system, artwork creation and storytelling (‘yarning’) to help the young men bring about their own positive change, recognise their self-worth and heal their spirit.
The FISH team guided participants through gaining a deeper understanding of the intergenerational impact of trauma, how to break the cycle and begin to rebuild their lives. They learned the importance of personal responsibility and how to express themselves both verbally and through art.
“It confirmed in me the direction I want to go and helped to show me that I could do it. Take responsibility for my life. To not give in and realise that there are opportunities for everyone, even in prison.”