Since January 2014 I have worked at Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison (EGRP), leading and facilitating prisoners in the production of two stop animation films, using model making and puppetry.
The first titled, ‘Deadly Driving,’ was developed as a response to the absence of a strong and relevant safe driving message for Aboriginal people across the communities of the North Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia and to address the increasing overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in custody for driving related offences in the Goldfields.
These programs embedded nationally accredited vocational and education training (VET) units which incorporate life skills and practical numeracy which created an educational program through film production.
‘Deadly Driving’ has become very popular and is now being promoted through a cross collaborative initiative between the Department of Corrective Services and School Drug Education and Road Aware, Western Australia (SDERA) who are using the work in their Keys for Life (K4L) resource package. This resource package is distributed to over 2000 Western Australian Secondary Schools to support eligible participants to achieve their Learners Permit.
‘Deadly Driving’ is a demonstration of how creative artistic projects can support prisoners’ rehabilitation, working towards reducing recidivism. Using alternative education programs can both raise awareness in particular areas of social concerns, i.e. dangerous driving and also teach new skills using art and media while also accumulating nationally accredited vocational skills.
The joy and engagement generated through the projects also contributes to prisoners’ wellbeing and mental health.
The next project is scheduled for late 2015.