Elders Visiting Program

Many Indigenous prisoners have not spoken to an Elder in years due to lifestyle and substance abuse problems. 

Indigenous prisoners represent around 85% of the entire Northern Territory (NT) prison population.

The Elders Visiting Program involves Elders regularly visiting prisoners in Darwin, Alice Springs, Nhulunbuy and Tennant Creek to take a new direction in their lives and develop plans after their release.

The program is also an important cultural link between Indigenous prisoners and correctional services staff.

Elders are able to advise staff on cultural and community issues which may affect a prisoner's behaviour or their ability to address re-offending.

They are also an important link to managing Indigenous offenders and visit correctional facilities regularly to work with and participate in activities with prisoners.

What Elders help with

Elders can help with all of the following:

  • family and community issues such as deaths in the family
  • release planning
  • cultural advice
  • planning cultural development programs and events
  • liaising between the offender, corrections staff and other agencies.

They also keep the community informed about the prisoner’s progress, address employment issues and help improve the ratio of Indigenous people in custody.

Where Elders visit from

Elders involved in this program are committed to addressing the negative impact the high rates of Indigenous imprisonment has on communities. 

Elders visits from the following places. 

Katherine region:

  • Lajamanu
  • Beswick
  • Kalkarinji
  • Katherine
  • Nukurr.

Saltwater / Gulf:

  • Tiwi Islands
  • Groote Eylandt
  • East Arnhem.

Barkly / Central: 

  • Yuendumu
  • Hermannsburg
  • Barkly region.

For more information on the Elders Visiting Program, email enquiries.ntdcs@nt.gov.au.

Last updated: 27 June 2017