Australian Institute of Criminology

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Matthew Willis

Research Manager

Academic qualifications

  • Master of Correctional Management (Charles Sturt University)
  • Master of Social Science (Criminology) (Charles Sturt University)
  • Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) (Charles Sturt University)

Selected employment

2013 - present Research Manager, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Responses Team, AIC
2012 - 2013 Deputy Research Manager, Crime and Criminal Justice Responses Team, AIC
2007 - 2012 Senior Research Analyst, AIC
2006 - 2007 Assistant Director, Detention Services Division, Department of Immigration and Citizenship
2003 - 2006 Research Analyst/Senior Research Analyst, AIC
1998 – 2003 Roles in criminal justice policy and operational management – Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department, ACT Corrective Services, ACT Department of Justice and Community Safety

Current areas of specialisation/expertise

  • Crime, justice and community safety issues in Indigenous communities
  • Adult and juvenile correctional policy and practice
  • Post-release experiences of offenders
  • Arson in the natural environment

Major projects current and past

  • Evaluation of the Victorian Community Correctional Services Service Delivery Model
  • Evaluation of the Justice for Our Youth (JOY) Project, Thailand Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection
  • Scoping of data to inform the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse’s understanding of the incidence and prevalence of child sexual abuse in institutional contexts
  • Risk assessment for Indigenous offending populations
  • Evaluation of Indigenous youth diversion programs
  • Community safety in Australian Indigenous communities
  • Evaluation of law and order measures under the Northern Territory Emergency Response
  • Mapping of baseline indicators for Remote Service Delivery communities
  • Evaluation of NAPCAN’s Growing Respect program
  • Evaluation of the Cross Border Indigenous Family Violence Program
  • Review of the Northern Territory Media Classification Awareness and Education campaign
  • Review of the Northern Territory Community Safety Planning process
  • Risk factors for Indigenous violent victimisation
  • Reintegration of Indigenous offenders
  • Bushfire arson (various projects)
  • Sentencing of Commonwealth offenders
  • Experiences and pathways into homelessness for ex-prisoners

Publications (most recent)

Australian Institute of Criminology publications

  • Willis M 2011. Aboriginal liaison officers in community policing. In Putt J (ed) Community policing in Australia. Research and Public Policy Series no. 111. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology
  • Willis M 2011. Non-disclosure of violence in Australian Indigenous communities. Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice no. 405. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology
  • Willis M 2010. Safety in Australian Indigenous communities: service providers’ perceptions. Research & Public Policy Series no.110. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology
  • Bryant C & Willis M 2009. Pornography awareness: a process of engagement with Northern Territory Indigenous communities. Technical & background paper series no. 34. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology
  • Willis M & Moore J-P 2008. Reintegration of Indigenous prisoners. Research & public policy series no. 90. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology
  • Willis M 2008. Reintegration of Indigenous prisoners: Key findings. Trends and issues in crime and criminal justice no. 364. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology
  • Bryant C & Willis M 2008. Risk factors in Indigenous victimisation. Technical & background paper series no. 30. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology
  • Australian Institute of Criminology 2004-2006 Bushfire arson bulletins nos 1-30. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology
  • Willis M 2003. Bushfire arson: A review of the literature. Research and public policy series no. 61. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology

Journal articles

  • Beacroft L, Lyneham M & Willis M 2011. Twenty years of monitoring since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody: An overview by the Australian Institute of Criminology. Australian Indigenous Law Review 15(1): 64-84
  • Willis M & Makkai T 2008. Ex-prisoners and homelessness: Some key issues. Parity October 2008
  • Willis M 2005. Bushfires: How can we avoid the unavoidable? Journal of environmental hazards 6(2): 93-99.
  • Willis M 2005. Conditional release: Examining the accommodation needs and experiences of ex-prisoners. Parity 19 (Nov 2005).

Books and reports

  • Willis M & Hedwards B 2014 (forthcoming). Sexting: Alternative Responses. In Hiestand TC & Weins JW (eds). Sexting and youth: a multidisciplinary examination of research, theory, and law. Carolina, USA: Carolina Academic Press
  • Willis M 2010. Indicators used internationally for measuring Indigenous justice outcomes. Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse, Brief 8, August. (0188)
  • AIC 2011. Promoting law and order (chapter in the Northern Territory Emergency Response Evaluation Report 2011). Canberra: Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
  • Australian Institute of Criminology 2006. Appendix 2: An analysis of federal fraud and drug cases, 2000-2004. In Australian Law Reform Commission (2006). Same time, same crime: Sentencing of federal offenders. ALRC Report 103
  • Australian Law Reform Commission 2006. Federal prisoners: A statistical overview. Same time, same crime: sentencing of federal offenders, ALRC report no. 103. (author of this appendix)
  • Willis M 2003. SAAP, ex-prisoners, housing and homelessness in Australia. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Family and Community Services.

Conference papers

  • Willis M & Hedwards B. Indigenous justice. Presented to the Australian Institute of Criminology Student Forum, 5 July 2013
  • It might work: Lessons from evaluating Indigenous youth justice and diversion programs. Presented at the Australasian Youth Justice Conference, Canberra, 20-22 May 2013
  • Community corrections in Australia. Presentation to the ASEAN Plus Three Conference on Probation and Non-Custodial Measures, Bangkok Thailand, 3-5 April 2013
  • Walsh A & Willis M. Growing Respect: Developing a community-led approach to preventing violence through diverse partnerships. Presented to the Crime Prevention & Communities conference, Sydney, 4-5 June 2012
  • Don’t ask, don’t tell: increasing disclosure of violence in Indigenous communities. Presented at the Meeting the Needs of Victims of Crime conference, Sydney, 18-19 May 2011
  • Evaluation of the ACE campaign. Presented to the ACE/Strong Choices stakeholder forum, Alice Springs, 11 April 2011
  • Guthrie J, Lovett R, Dance P, Willis M, Li J & Levy M. Pre-incarceration alcohol and other drug use amongst detainees at Alexander Maconochie Centre, ACT. Poster presentation to the Australian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) conference, Canberra, 28 November – 1 December 2010
  • Diversion programs for responding to substance abuse in Indigenous communities. Presented to ‘Looking Forward With Hope’: a conference to celebrate 10 years of the Youth Drug and Alcohol Court NSW, Parramatta, 30 July 2010
  • Closing the gap on justice and safety for Indigenous Australians. Presented to the AIC Student Forum, Canberra, 30 July 2010
  • Community safety in Australian Indigenous communities. Presented to the Indigenous Family Violence Prevention Forum, Mackay Queensland, 19-20 May 2010
  • Perceptions of community safety in Indigenous communities. Presented at the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology conference, Perth, 22 to 25 November 2009
  • Willis M & Lindley J. Australian prison & juvenile detention populations: trends and implications. Presented to the Prison Planning, Design and Construction summit, Brisbane, 28 to 29 September 2009
  • Reintegration of Indigenous prisoners. Presented to the joint Victorian Department of Justice/Department of Human Services Aboriginal Justice Agreement forum, Warrnambool Victoria, 16-17 July 2009
  • Community corrections across Australia: What do we know? What do we need to know? Presented at the Making a Difference: Responding to Need in Developing, Implementing and Evaluating Correctional Programs conference, Melbourne, 5-6 March 2009
  • Reintegration of Indigenous prisoners. Presented to the Reintegration Puzzle Conference, Adelaide, June 2008
  • Recidivism and Indigenous offenders. Presented to the joint AIC/Victorian Department of Justice recidivism forum, Melbourne, June 2008.
  • Human caused: Bushfire arson in Australia – Presented to forestry science students, Australian National University, 13 May 2005
  • Program C: An overview – Presented at the Bushfire CRC Forum, Canberra, 29 April 2005
  • Shifting sands: Undertaking field research with ex-prisoners – Presented at the Safety, crime and justice: From data to policy conference, Canberra, 6 June 2005
  • Willis M 2005. Fire bugged: Bushfire arson now and beyond, 2nd Annual Bushfire CRC Conference/12th Annual AFAC Conference, Auckland NZ, 6 7 October
  • Willis M 2005. Fire signs: Geographic profiling and bushfire arson, 11th Annual Symposium on Environmental Criminology and Crime Analysis, Santiago Chile, 25-27 July
  • Willis M 2005. Human caused: Bushfire arson in Australia, Presented to forestry science students, Australian National University, 13 May
  • Willis M 2005. Shifting sands : conducting field research with ex-prisoners, Safety, crime and justice : from data to policy, Canberra, 6-7 June
  • Willis M 2004. The invisible hand: bushfire arson in Australia. 1st Annual Bushfire CRC Conference/11th Annual Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC) Conference, Perth, 7-9 October


  • Working Group, Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse
  • Scientific Reference Group, Closing the Gap Clearinghouse
  • University Fellow, the Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University