Stories from the Inside

G4S Care and Justice Australia supports initiative aimed at reducing youth offending

G4S has held the contract to manage (the now) 1107 bed maximum security Port Phillip Prison, located in the west of Melbourne since 1997.

Stories from the Inside, is a powerful documentary made by young prisoners at Port Phillip Prison (PPP), which they hope will change lives.

Two years in the making, Stories from the Inside, focuses on a group of first-time offenders, aged 18 to 25 years. In 2011 a group of young prisoners from the Penhyn Youth Unit at PPP, approached the unit’s Youth Development Officer, Anne Hooker, about their concerns that young people can make very bad decisions and sometimes those decisions have dire consequences for all involved. Drawing from their own experiences, they considered the impact that their offending had on their victims, their families and friends. These young men wanted to create something of value out of their situation, that might in some way influence the choices other young people make and help prevent more victims.

Highly motivated to tell their stories as a way of giving back to the community, in the film they discuss the choices and mistakes that led them to being incarcerated, the effects of their actions on their victims themselves and their families and friends, the harsh reality of prison life, and their fears of rejection when they return to the outside world.

Filmed, edited and directed by the film’s subjects, with the assistance of educational specialists Shark Island Productions, and made especially for secondary students, Stories from the Inside has one primary objective - to stop other young people offending. The documentary is now available free of charge to secondary schools throughout Australia , and is accompanied by a Teacher’s Guide.

The highly unique project could not have happened without the strong support of Corrections Victoria, who work closely with G4S Management at the Prison to enable the implementation of a range of innovative programs, all with the ultimate aim of reducing recidivism and assisting reintegration with the community.

Two screenings of Stories from the Inside, were recently held, one in Melbourne and one in Sydney, for an audience of about 450 people. The organisers said: “We were delighted to have a great range of people in the audience including supporters of the Youth Unit programs, members of Legal Aid in each state, youth services, Magistrates, Judges from the Children’s Court or Victoria, the County Court of Victoria, the Victorian Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People attended in Melbourne, and the Minister for Citizenship and Communities in New South Wales, Education Department representatives and members of the corporate sector and philanthropic community interested in supporting young offenders.”

The screening was followed by a moderated Q and A with Ian Darling of Shark Island Productions, Anne Hooker, Youth Development Officer, “Oscar”, a participant in the film and Jane Tewson of Igniting Change.

Copies of the Film can be purchased at http://www.servingtime.org/.