Reintegration and Resettlement of African Australians Released from Prison

An interdisciplinary research team has developed a culturally responsive Ubuntu framework for supporting African Australians released from prison.

Photograph of four people

Photo: The Project Team at the African Studies Group's Borders, Identities and Belonging Conference (L to R): Professor Karen  Karen Farquharson, Selba Luka (CEO and Founder, Afri-Aus Care), Dr Diana Johns and Dr Gerald Onsando.

A new report focused on the reintegration and resettlement of African Australians released from prison has been launched at the African Studies Group 2020 Conference. The report highlights the importance of culturally responsive practices when supporting African Australians released from prison and has developed the Ubuntu framework of support.

In many African traditions and cultures, family and community connectedness are a core part their collectivist sociocultural framework. One of the common notions that inform many of these African sociocultural values and traditions is the concept of Ubuntu. Ubuntu is often described by the maxim “I am, because we are; and since we are, therefore I am” (collectivism) as opposed to “I think, therefore I am” (individualism).

The Ubuntu framework of support offers culturally responsive reintegration mechanisms that are expected to address reoffending risks for African Australians released from prison. Based on this framework, the project team make the following policy and practice recommendations:

  • Apart from guaranteeing imprisoned African Australians’ personal safety in prison, authorities should provide culturally responsive programs and activities that offer sustainable rehabilitative outcomes.
  • Bespoke programs designed to encourage potential employers towards providing meaningful employment opportunities that facilitate effective reintegration of African Australians into society should be established.
  • Practical initiatives that acknowledge the critical role of the family should be established to encourage and enhance family connectedness for African Australians while they are imprisoned and after their release.
  • Building capacities of communities to play a greater sustainable role in supporting African Australians who are in prison as well as in welcoming and reintegrating African Australians released from prison.

Download: Download the Research Report (PDF)

Download: Download the Executive Summary (PDF)

This research project was funded as part of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute's 2018 Interdisciplinary Seed Funding Round. To learn more, visit the project page or contact Dr Gerald Onsando.

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Dr Gerald Onsando