Impact of the ‘Yes, I Can!’ adult literacy campaign on interactions with the criminal justice system


Low levels of literacy and education are often associated with negative interactions with and experiences of the criminal justice system. Low literacy also contributes to the over-representation of Indigenous Australians in the justice system. This paper examines service provider and criminal justice practitioner perspectives of the ‘Yes, I Can!’ adult literacy campaign. Interviews with 22 workers in regional New South Wales suggest that the majority believe the ‘Yes, I Can!’ program can potentially improve the type and frequency of interactions between Indigenous Australians and the criminal justice system. Overwhelmingly, participants viewed increasing literacy levels as key in empowering Indigenous Australians and enhancing encounters with criminal justice service providers. Further study and evaluation, including interviewing participants of the ‘Yes, I Can!’ campaign and community Elders, is of utmost importance.