Churchill Fellowship Award Pesentation

Port Phillip Prison employee receives prestigious Churchill Fellowship award

Michelle Enbom, manager of the Marlborough Unit at G4S Australia’s Port Phillip Prison, was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship Trust medal recently for completing the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust’s programme in 2018. The Churchill Fellowship offers people a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel overseas, investigating topics and issues in their field of work.

Michelle is the driving force behind a structured programme within the specialised Marlborough Unit, which focuses on supporting cognitively impaired prisoners. The opportunity provided by the Churchill Fellowship allowed Michelle to visit the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, the UK and the USA to see what other countries are doing successfully in a similar field to inspire new ideas and innovation. Michelle specifically looked at the way different countries responded to managing the rising numbers of prisoners with intellectual disability, the challenging behaviours presented and the issues faced during transition back into the community.

At the awards ceremony Michelle remarked that there was a similarity in thought in the establishments she visited around the rehabilitation of cognitively impaired prisoners, with countries looking to the ideals of providing social skill development programs, tailored support and creating therapeutic communities rather than solely addressing the criminogenic needs of the offender.

Reflecting on her experience, Michelle is confident that the work done at the Marlborough Unit is world leading, however whilst Port Phillip Prison is moving in the right direction, due to resources, funding and the increasing number of prisoners in the Victorian prison system, there is a growing need for more focus to be on the transition back into the community.

"It is becoming increasingly expensive to incarcerate all prisoners now, let alone those with special needs. The focus needs to be on how we can successfully rehabilitate them into the community. I have seen excellent examples of this transition in Denmark and the USA, where prisoners move into gated or lifestyle communities, providing that transition and connection to community," commented Michelle.

The medal was presented by Anne Hooker, the President of the Churchill fellowship Association in Victoria and the Youth Development Officer at Port Phillip Prison. Thanking her friend and long-time colleague for her inspiration and support, Michelle will continue to be a strong advocate who supports the idea of a future where there are purpose built communities that encapsulate family values for this type of offender and to see no person with an intellectual disability go to prison.