Jail ‘Rite of Passage’ for Aboriginal Youths

Anne-Louise Brown, WA Today, May 25, 2012

Peter Sirr is determined to make a difference in the lives of WA’s young indigenous men, who he says, see jail time as a “rite of passage”.

Mr Sirr is the CEO of Outcare, a non-government organisation offering a unique training and rehabilitation strategy called Live Works.

The program, which is designed to keep young Aboriginal men out of prison and improve their job prospects, has been allocated $7.5million state government funding over four years, giving almost 500 youths the chance of gaining vocational skills.

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He said the program, which has been running out of Bayswater for three years, had been on the verge of being cancelled due to a lack of funding before the state intervened.

He said the program catered for Aboriginal boys aged 12 to 18 who have spent time in juvenile detention and are at risk of becoming imprisoned as adults.

“The number of Aboriginal youths in detention is so disproportionate, and while juvenile detention centres do serve a purpose, for the most they just perpetuate the cycle of crime to some extent,” he said.

“Most of the boys that come through the program have an expectation that at some point while they’re growing up they’re going to end up in detention. They think it’s a rite of passage.”

Mr Sirr said the program empowered attendees, giving them a “hand up, not a hand out”.

“We physically get the boys to the program, whether that means teachers collecting them or our bus collecting them,” he said.

“This is about exposing them to success, telling them they’re doing a good job and getting them into a workday routine, things many of these kids have never experienced generationally.”

The program will be delivered in three high-demand locations – Swan, Armadale and Kwinana.

Corrections Minister Terry Redman said additional funding would also be provided to upgrade the Corrective Services’ community work centre Riverbank site in Caversham.

“This facility, once dilapidated but now being restored mainly through the use of offender labour, provides important rehabilitation programs by allowing offenders to engage in community work activities,” Mr Redman said.

“There will also be a significant increase in skills training in areas including welding and painting, and the provision of courses in decorating and catering.”

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  • mikejones91

    “The White Mans Burden” becomes more true each day.

  • Oil Can Harry

    Jail is also a “rite of passage” for black youths.

    And black adults.

    And black senior citizens…

    • anarchyst

      It’s called the “University of Corrections” . . .

  • “This is about exposing them to success, telling them they’re doing a
    good job and getting them into a workday routine, things many of these
    kids have never experienced generationally.”

    In other words, it’s about lying to them.

    When they do eventually wind up going to prison and having their typical screwed-up Abo lives, that will only make their heads overheat.  If they’re allowed to think that many of them will eventually go to prison, i.e. the truth, their expectations aren’t artificially inflated by some lib white egalitarian.

    It is difficult in Australia to get a prison sentence, (a consequence of Australia’s heritage as a penal colony), and even more difficult for an Abo, because I’m sure the justice system isn’t quite so blind.  Even with all that wind to their backs, they still go to prison so often and so universally that young Abo men to an individual think they will eventually go to prison.

  • Blacks are a criminal curse on western society and will bring it down unless eradicated.

  • RockyBass

    Aborigines, are not blacks, they may even be more wretched. If intelligence is factored in they are proto-human for sure.  

  • dhs

    I wonder what programs for Aborigine youths, the non-European conquerors  will put into effect. Would the Chinese worry about increasing the skills  these youths, or would the Mideast  Muslims  worry about detention centers perpetuating cycles  of despair?  I don’t think so.  If the Abo’s are very lucky, the new rulers of Australia will ignore them.

  • bluffcreek1967

    I find it typical that, once again, another DWL is doing his best to ‘rescue’ some poor ‘indigenous’ people so they can half-way function in a modern world – mostly at the govenment’s expense! Any time any ethnic group of people have to be ‘taught’ basic things like not committing crime and getting a job by a non-profit organization (or governmental one), you can rest assured that their efforts will be a waste of time. Not only will the funds be squandered, but very little success (if any) in the long run will show itself.  

  • LudwigvonDrake

    The $15,000 per head spent on these folks is peanuts compared to that same amount spent on each and every K-12 student each year in Washington D.C. (district of coloreds) where they have a high school graduation rate of under 50%. What these aborigines need is an aboriginal NAACP and a Jesse & Al shakedown tag team to get them into the real money.