Prison Fellowship Australia is a community of restoration working from multiple angles to restore the human damage of crime: prisoners, crime victims, families of prisoners are all involved.
In 2020 NED supported them to extend this program into North and Far North Queensland and to modify it to meet the cultural needs of First Nations Peoples. Our support enabled changes to the program to allow it to be run where it was not possible to engage face-to-face with victims.
The project engaged in learning more about the first people’s culture and challenges facing indigenous Australians through consultations with Aunty Ruth Hegarty (survivor of crime at Cherboug Mission), Visit to Hymba Yumba school, Consultation with indigenous teachers and NGOs who have undertaken programs northern Queensland. The curriculum was updated to improve accessibility to diverse reading levels and a culturally diverse audience, and the structure was improved to shorten the course and give increased direction to facilitators
Video stories of crime victims which enhance the 7-week curriculum were filmed along with interview style feature videos documenting powerful experiences of crime victim stories and their struggles in coping with trauma, loss and grief.
A core team has been recruited and trained in preparation for running the first in prison program in North Queensland.
The breakthrough Sycamore Tree justice program has featured on national media and has been implemented in over 40 countries. It brings crime victims and prisoners together in a secure area of a local prison for seven sessions, focussing on the impact of crime.
The Sycamore Tree Project is one of our most innovative approaches to ministering to those who are incarcerated, while also caring for victims of crime in our community.
This 8-week faith-based program is conducted within prisons, and provides opportunities for victims of crime to meet with inmates. The program brings people together in a safe, structured, and facilitated way to talk about their experience, how they were impacted by crime, and how the harm can be repaired or addressed.
The Sycamore Tree Project aims to move beyond punishment towards healing, by addressing past harms and preventing future damage.