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First Peoples

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Literature review

The ACT Justice and Community Safety Directorate (JACS) has developed and is implementing the Yarning Circles for Justice (YCJ) program, which operates a post-prison program, as well an in-prison yarning circle program. As set out in the ACT Government’s information paper about yarning circles and other relevant programs (JACS 2020), YCJ was designed, in partnership with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, as a series of culturally-informed programs for men and women. It seeks to engage participants in building capacity, to manage daily life outside prison, empower them to re-establish crucial links to community and culture, and restore positive relationships with friends, family and peers.

This report presents a select literature review on yarning circles within the justice system, to provide insight into the unique cultural elements of yarning practices and inform how yarning circles can best operate in ACT justice system. This report provides a summary of:

  • options for the use of yarning circles for adults, to reduce offending for those engaged in
  • the justice system and support the aim of reduced incarceration and recidivism;
  • options regarding the use of yarning circles as the delivery method, or key element, of criminogenic interventions;
  • examples of yarning circles in the community and in prison; and
  • recommendations regarding future evaluations of yarning circles in the ACT.
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