The Justice Map is a research and advocacy project that launched in 2020. For the last 24 months, we have been undertaking an extensive research report that examines the drivers of mass incarceration in Australia, and the landscape of advocacy and service organisations working on justice reform – including through mapping the resources available to these organisations.
Over 50 people have been directly involved in the Justice Map project, with many having either personally experienced incarceration, or having had a family member incarcerated. With support from the Snow Foundation, Victorian Legal Services Board, Victorian Women’s Benevolent Trust, Flemington Kensington and Inner Melbourne Community Legal Centres and the Australian Communities Foundation, and with generous time volunteered from many students, lawyers, academics and journalists, we have been able to produce:
- An analysis of over 200 organisations and grassroots networks advocating for alternatives. We have mapped the resources available to these actors, the nature and scope of the advocacy being undertaken, the level of coordination between them, key challenges, and emerging gaps;
- Yarning circles held with adults and young people who are currently in prison or are transitioning out of prison in four locations across Victoria and these are currently underway in the ACT;
- A literature review of over 300 academic and non-academic sources to ascertain the gaps in law reform analysis;
- A ‘following the money’ investigation into private interests, led by investigative journalist Denham Sadler, highlighting dozens of government contracts, company financial records and academic research into privatisation, to paint a picture of the private interests involved in the prison and policing industries.
This work has led to the Justice Map’s participation in a number of inquiries and policy processes – notably the Inquiry into Victoria’s Justice System held by the Victorian Parliament in 2021, the report of which quotes the Justice Map extensively. We are now undertaking our final yarning circles, with the full report due to launch by early 2023.
The Justice Map’s research report is the first of its kind. This publicly accessible report will be a valuable tool for policy makers and community groups advocating in the justice space. Throughout 2023, the report will be permanently accessible from its own website and distributed through workshops, organisational networks, and digital channels.
The Justice Map was designed by See Your Change consulting Founder and Director Melanie Poole. Melanie has worked extensively with justice organisations in both Australia and globally, including with Change the Record, Australia’s only Aboriginal-led justice coalition, as Director of Policy, Strategy and Advocacy at the Federation of Community Legal Centres, community and with Just Leadership USA. She has also worked in senior roles within the trade union movement and as CARE’s United Nations global advocacy representative in New York. She is currently the Policy and Research Director at the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), where she has driven FARE’s advocacy for preventing the criminalisation of people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and for improved cognitive screening, diagnosis and support within the child protection and justice systems.
Melanie holds a Masters of Public Administration from New York University, where she was the Anne Wexler – Fulbright Public Policy Scholar for 2013-2015, and Law and Political Science degrees from the Australian National University.
Naomi is a Wakka Wakka Murri woman, a well-known justice advocate, and the recipient of the 2018 Fellowship for Indigenous Leadership Award. She has worked with the Centre for Innovative Justice, and with Woor-Dungin, where she was a driving force in establishing the Aboriginal Ex Offender Employment Project.
In 2019, Naomi presented testimony of her own lived experience around Criminal Record Discrimination at the Victorian State Parliament enquiry into Spent Conviction legislation, and arranged a series of community meetings. Her advocacy proved catalytic in persuading the enquiry to recommend a Spent Convictions scheme for Victoria.
Naomi has worked for many years as a cultural mentor supporting Aboriginal women incarcerated in prisons across Victoria. She is heavily involved in community activities regarding Aboriginal health, sport, culture and education, and “Dreamtime Dance Troupe”, an Indigenous Contemporary troupe that has danced across Victoria for over 15 years.
Rachael Hambleton has been working in the for-purpose space for over a decade and is the Justice Map’s Senior Strategy and Research Advisor, as well as a Board Member at Flat Out. Rachael experienced parental incarceration throughout the entirety of her childhood, her dad died in a police initiated contact in 2019 and there is an ongoing coronial investigation into his death that is likely to result in a death in custody inquest. Since his death she has actively campaigned to address the systemic issues that have impacted her family. Last year she was invited to launch the report that resulted from the Victorian State Parliament inquiry into Children Affected by Parental Incarceration, alongside the Legislative Committee for Legal and Social Issues.