SEEDS - Making a difference!

SEEDS - Making a difference!

FACTS:

  • 8,129 full time prisoners in Queensland
  • It costs $215 a day for each prisoner
  • It costs $22 a day to supervise an offender in the community
  • 38.3% of people sent to custody returned to prison within 2 years

Report on Government Services 2018, Part C, Chapter 8 – Corrective Services

 


 

What is SEEDS?
Our Social and Emotional Engagement Development Service (SEEDS) in Rockhampton supports people with a moderate to severe mental illness to seamlessly transition back into the community of their choice.

A typical SEEDS client is a man or woman who is faced with the challenges of dealing with a mental health diagnosis as well as the stigma of living in the shadow of having been to prison.

Most clients find that they have lived with a mental health condition which has gone undiagnosed, overlooked because of antisocial behaviours such as violence, alcohol and drug abuse. The program also receives clients with serious offences such as assault through to manslaughter and sex offences.

With a small team of two, the SEEDS program partners with between 30 and 50 clients at any one time, coordinating with a diverse group of community services to best support each individual through their mental health recovery plan.

What does a typical day look like for SEEDS?
A typical day for the SEEDS team usually commences with a review of the Queensland court listings for the day. The team often liaises with legal representatives to support clients with difficult cognitive and behavioural traits to cope throughout the court process. This often leads into stakeholder meetings and case reviews with health professionals, the police services, probation and parole, corrective services and family.

Given the complexity of clients and the scarcity of services with the capacity to support offenders with mental health conditions the court is a key referral pathway for mental health clients to receive support.

Another source of clients is direct from the prisons across Queensland. SEEDS work closely with mental health teams from Townsville, Maryborough, Capricornia and Brisbane correctional centres and receive referrals for clients looking to relocate to Rockhampton or transfer from Rockhampton back to a place of residence or directly to a support facility.

Meeting clients within a correctional institute is a sobering experience. A typical visit includes biometric scanning in and out of the centre and surveillance watching your every move as you travel around the concreate and steal jungle that is a prison. This is the environment we often first meet with our clients and where we get to begin planning in preparation for a day of release.

Clients are challenged at all stages of the justice system. Each client must learn to cope with the rigors of incarceration and deal with the limitations of life whilst in prison. Clients inevitably face the challenges of return from a corrective centre back into the community where they often start life at the absolute bottom.

A critical part of the program includes navigating the gaps in services. SEEDS clients often fall outside the traditional support models.  They are neither classified under mental health or disability services. Because of this clients are often left overlooked and have to face the challenges of reintegration without structured support. The SEEDS program is faced with the challenge of paving innovative new pathways that will reduce the likelihood of reoffending and encourage social reintegration. 

Who has SEEDS helped?
It has been a privilege to see:

  • A 51 year old gentleman who had spent over 20 years in and out of prison and faced long term homelessness, schizophrenia,  alcoholism, diabetes, liver damage and post traumatic stress, reconnect with family and abstain from alcohol
  • A female with chronic schizophrenia living on the river bank find sustainable accommodation and reengage with mental health services
  • A male who has history of drug induced psychosis who had been barred from all known drug rehabilitation facilities, now sober and supporting his child while launching his music career and giving back to the community as a motivational speaker

In the last three years we have seen the program client numbers grow, and the rate of recidivism of SEEDS clients falls below the national average.

 


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