JA presented to the top 24 bureaucrats from the Bureau of Prison Administration of the People’s Republic of China on the 10th of August 2017. Earlier they visited Long Bay and Silverwater prisons, as well as a briefing from Corrective Services NSW.
We were asked to present prisoners’ views on resettlement and how our experiences could help them. We invited the Women’s Justice Network to join us. Two flyers including Chinese translations were distributed to the officials.
JA presented the benefits of social support and access to communication via computers in cells, amidst a spirited series of questions from the Chinese officials. We highlighted our independence funded by Breakout Media Communications.
The Women’s Justice Network (WJN) presented its experience of mentoring and particular problems for women prisoners.
Huang Lanzheng, the Director-General of the Bureau of Prison Administration said he respected our work. He particularly appreciated our influence on criminal justice policy reform. He said that in China there are programs similar to restorative justice, but said “we still have something to learn from you … three things we can still learn from you are the protection of prisoners after release, reduce isolation, and restorative justice”.
Huang Lanzheng said he felt comfortable talking directly with us, and appreciated the benefit of our experience. They all clapped and we shook hands agreeing to work together in the future on the issues of mentoring, use of technology to lessen isolation and the formation of NGO support.