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Art displays a restorative future for Southern Queensland Correctional Centre prisoners

Published: 13 Mar 2017

Prisoners from Southern Queensland Correctional Centre are displaying their work at the Lockyer Valley Art Gallery in Queensland this week as part of the Prison’s restorative and education program.

Now in its fourth year, the exhibition has expanded significantly since its debut in 2013.  Extremely well received by the local community, parts of previous exhibitions have also been displayed at the University of Southern Queensland art gallery in Toowoomba, and featured in the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair. In addition, SQCC has the distinction of being the first prison to display artwork in Brisbane’s Parliament House.

Serco runs a series of art programmes at SQCC as part of our commitment to reducing recidivism and supporting prisoners to rehabilitate. These programmes are designed to work holistically with a multitude of offender rehabilitative and restorative justice programmes. 

For prisoners who struggle with traditional classroom learning, the SQCC art programmes enable a greater freedom of expression. The mediums can include art, pottery, leatherwork or music and are structured in part around what the prisoners want to explore.

Head of Offender Education and Training, Malcolm Wake says the focus on using art as an education and training tool allows prisoners to find their creative side in prison, where they can be free to experiment with lots of different styles of art and use those experiences to build confidence in education and vocational programs.

Each prisoner has to buy their own art supplies, tools and materials, which they fund through working at the prison in areas like the kitchen or fulfilling contracts the prison has forged with businesses in the local community who support prisoner rehabilitation. This means a certain level of commitment and discipline towards practising their craft.

Another Serco staff member, Allan Payne (pictured), teaches furniture making at the prison. After observing how difficult the weekend can be for inmates who were not receiving visitors, Allan created a ‘Men’s Shed’, a chance for inmates to talk and make things. Inside the Men’s Shed, inmates can now create artwork like an exceptional handmade guitar and carrying bag on display at the Lockyer exhibition. Allan firmly believes that providing opportunity is “about enabling prisoners to be become better people than when they arrived”.

The exhibition is open until 30 April 2017. For more information visit the Lockyer Valley Art Gallery’s website.

Media contact: Tim Evans, +61 409 389 358

General media enquiries: Serco media line, +61 (0) 2 9409 8700 or [email protected]

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