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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 2 December 2021) . . Page.. 4073 ..

DR PATERSON: Minister, are you able to update the Assembly on any other new programs or trial programs that are improving the lives of detainees at the AMC?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Dr Paterson for the supplementary question. ACT Corrective Services has been working hard on modernising and improving programs available to detainees at the AMC. I am delighted that this work has commenced and look forward to watching it continue and develop.

Recently, an alcohol and other drug pilot program commenced with Karralika, previously run through Solaris. The program was developed by ACT Corrective Services staff and is based on current dialectical based therapy and mindfulness techniques which are evidence based for the specific cohort. I have been advised that the detainees who participated in the pilot provided feedback after the initial four sessions which has been very positive.

The pilot program is participant centred, focusing on the individual and their responses to specific situations, unlike traditional drug and alcohol education programs. The different approach seems to have made it more engaging for the participants and allows them to think about certain skills and how to focus on them. Detainees also felt that the program allows them to be more involved and provides an opportunity to self-reflect and better understand their emotions.

The program is in the pilot phase, but I am pleased to see a different, more individualised approach to programs being incorporated by ACT Corrective Services.

MS ORR: Minister, what programs are available specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Orr for the question. There are a number of culturally specific programs offered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the AMC. These include the elders visitation program, the elders healing program, the elders songlines program, the culture and land management program and the elders yarning circle program. I would like to thank everyone involved in running these programs and providing support and mentorship to detainees.

We also have a number of art programs on offer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees. The elders Aboriginal art program operates weekly with support from the AMC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services unit, and external cultural services provide “Culture on the move”. ACT Corrective Services also facilitate the Dream Gallery public exhibition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainee art within the foyer of 2 Constitution Avenue. The public display averages the sale of around three detainee art works per month. The annual NAIDOC community art exhibition ran from July to August this year. 2022 is the 10-year celebration of this important community partnership.

These programs are an opportunity for detainees to connect with their culture and with the broader community through their art. The feedback in relation to them is overwhelmingly positive.

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