Australian Institute of Criminology

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Mentoring women released from custody: toward a mentoring model

74 Leichhardt Street, Griffith ACT, Dr Mark Brown
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM 25 June 2009

Dr Mark Brown
The University of Melbourne School of Social and Political Sciences

Presentation overview

Mentoring has long been a staple of support activities with children and youth, perhaps the most well known of which is the Big Brother Big Sister program. But in recent years mentoring has also attracted significant interest within adult criminal justice. This presentation reports on a three-year ARC Linkage funded research project undertaken with the Victorian Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (VACRO). The first part of the presentation will review some of the key findings first emerging from the project, including the extent and causes of social isolation of women released from prison and the important role of mentors who were able to utilise their own social capital to assist ex-prisoners to put down roots in pro-social society and take the path of desistance from crime. Looking forward, the second part of this presentation will present for discussion some further thinking about the possible roles of mentors and the scope for the mentoring in personal change processes. Here, the presentation will examine the idea that subjective change is tied in important ways to the building of social capital and attempt to frame that change within the theoretical terms of Ward's Good Lives Model. The presentation concludes with a question, asking to what extent mentoring may be simply the forging of 'a special sort of friendship' or whether the power of mentoring relationships might be harnessed and directed towards more specific goals.

The presenter

Dr Brown's primary teaching and research interests lie in the areas of penality, corrections and colonial penal history. He has written extensively on the subject of dangerousness and legislative measures to deal with serious offenders. He has co-edited with John Pratt Dangerous Offenders: Punishment and Social Order (Routledge, 2000) and is a co-editor of The New Punitiveness: Current Trends, Theories, Perspectives (Willan, 2005). His research in penal history concentrates upon British India and is concerned with colonial ideas of native criminality and the interplay between the emerging academic disciplines of criminology and anthropology and the task of colonial governance. Dr Brown has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Delhi Law School and travels regularly to Delhi and London to utilise the India Office Records archives. He teaches the undergraduate subjects Punishment and Social Control and Global Criminology, and a Masters subject The New Punitiveness.

For more information

Please RSVP by Wednesday 24 June 2009 to