Getting out of jail is commonly assumed to be trigger for celebration and a brand new starting. Nonetheless, many ladies exiting jail face profound drawback, isolation, poor psychological and bodily well being and battle discovering housing.
Additional complicating return to civil society is the very fact some girls are launched from jail with out formal identification.
We labored alongside members of a not-for-profit group referred to as Seeds of Affinity – all girls with lived expertise of jail – to contemplate how a technology-based resolution might ease the transition from jail to neighborhood life.
We then developed a prototype messenger chatbot that helps girls in South Australia by way of the steps concerned in buying ID after exiting jail.
Getting ID could seem easy. It’s not
Formal identification is important to create a checking account and to allow Centrelink funds. Neither entity accepts jail paperwork as formal ID, so a bit of official ID is essential.
Whereas it’s doable for help staff within the jail to organise ID previous to a lady’s launch, usually this doesn’t occur.
Getting ID post-release is particularly tough if a lady has by no means had a driver’s license or passport, and is much more sophisticated if she was born interstate.
Getting a proof of age card – by way of, within the South Australian context, Service SA – is just not simple both. It requires a duplicate of a start certificates, which may set you again A$50 and might take weeks. The method could be extremely complicated, as this stream chart outlining the method exhibits.
Some girls exit jail with out secure friendship and household networks on which they’ll rely to assist them by way of this Kafkaesque course of, or might not have entry to the web or cellphone information. They usually want staff like Linda to assist them.
‘Depart no lady behind’: the challenges of freedom
As researchers, we have an interest within the methods know-how could be leveraged to handle social issues and promote social change.
In our pilot challenge, we partnered with Seeds of Affinity in South Australia.
Guided by their ethos of “leaving no girls behind”, this organisation supplies caring and judgement-free help to criminalised girls.
That is vital as a result of many fashions of service accessible to criminalised girls are hardly ever useful or nurturing, and sometimes add to girls’s misery. This leaves many criminalised girls reluctant to belief others.
In our co-design workshops, girls with lived expertise of jail shared glimpses into their first few weeks following their launch from jail.
Each setback a lady faces when negotiating calls for after launch considerably impacts on upon her psychological well being; it will possibly lead some girls to imagine it will be simpler to surrender and return to jail.
The price to maintain an individual in jail varies throughout states in Australia, however ranges between A$294 – $559 per day. This cash can be higher spent in the neighborhood. Any intervention is worth it if it helps girls navigate post-release calls for, creates a way of feat and steers them away from “giving up” and returning to jail.
Variety of girls on remand in Victoria soars resulting from outdated bail legal guidelines
Can co-designed know-how assist?
Earlier than working with Seeds of Affinity girls, we had envisaged an app as being the the most effective tech-based instrument to make use of.
However after analysing how they engaged with know-how, we recognized Fb’s Messenger service as the most effective resolution.
We developed a prototype messenger chatbot named “Lindabot” – named after Seeds of Affinity’s neighborhood coordinator, Linda Fisk.
We did this as a result of we noticed that it was the best way info and help was delivered that mattered most to criminalised girls looking for assist.
Because of this, our “Lindabot” prototype doesn’t simply present info. As a substitute, we’ve programmed it to make use of optimistic, nurturing language based mostly upon the strategy utilized by Seeds of Affinity volunteers.
Testing the tech
To judge our prototype, we took Lindabot again to the ladies for testing and suggestions.
Encouragingly, they discovered it simple to navigate the acquainted tech platform of Messenger. Ladies additionally responded positively to being actively concerned in designing an intervention.
As one participant mentioned:
Often, we’re informed what we’d like, it was good to be requested for a change.
Lindabot continues to be on the prototype stage. Nonetheless, the event course of has proven us extra potentialities for Lindabot to assist criminalised girls meet different wants.
We absolutely acknowledge technology-based options can’t exchange human interplay, or undo the harms of imprisonment.
However technology-based options knowledgeable by end-user’s experiences have the potential to reinforce and help the work of human service staff (like Linda).
That leaves them extra time for advocacy and the face-to-face work wanted to help girls to transition out of the prison justice system.
Seeds of Affinity neighborhood coordinator, Linda Fisk, contributed to this text.
Ladies in jail: histories of trauma and abuse spotlight the necessity for specialised care