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1.1 Sisters Inside – Values & Model of Service

Sisters Inside – Values & Model of Service

Sisters Inside’s values are unusual in their level of detail, and the extent to which the statement is living document.  Developed with women prisoners over several weekends in 1999, these values underpin the organisation and are part of the organisation’s Constitution.  All employees and Management Committee members are required to agree to work within them, and a group reading of the Values at least twice annually is instituted within Sisters Inside’s processes.

Originally written for new staff, this resource offers a practical, accessible introduction to the Sisters Inside model of service – Inclusive Support.  It outlines the realities of the lives of criminalised women, briefly critiques the Case Management model, and explains how Sisters Inside’s values are translated into this alternate, rights-based model of practice … including the ‘nuts and bolts’ of our daily work.

Originally focused on understanding women’s drug use in prison and post-release, this paper provides invaluable wider understanding of what Murri women feel and know about the prison experience.  Anyone who’s not an Aboriginal woman with lived prison experience can never completely understand the realities of life and imprisonment for First Nations women.  However, this resource does enable a worker who is genuinely onside and committed to learning, to better understand the role they can play and access to some tools to avoid simple mistakes.

Additional Resources

Case Management is the dominant model of service with marginalised groups across both government and non-government agencies.  Despite having been imposed on criminalised women – generally, by multiple services over many years – Case Management has been clearly ineffective in addressing the rights and needs of these women and their children.  This paper, originally written by Liz Archer in 2011 and updated in 2019, compares and contrasts Case Management with the Sisters Inside model of service, Inclusive Support.  This includes addressing the models’ values base; the role and power of service users; responsiveness to people with complex interrelated concerns; inclusion of their family and social context; cultural and contextual safety and appropriateness; and recognition of social and economic barriers faced by criminalised women (and other groups).