The Youth Unit Story
The Youth Unit at G4S' Port Phillip Prison was established in 2005 by youth worker, Anne Hooker who persevered with the dream of doing something great for young men in the high security prison, with the aim of reducing self-harm and suicide for these young men. All of the inamtes are first time offenders aged between 18 and 24.
Igniting Change first met Anne when she had ideas for a Youth Unit but no moral or financial support to bring it to fruition. We were immediately inspired by her work and the potential of the young men. We listened and learned directly from them what would make a difference to their time in Prison and over the years,
Igniting Change has catlysed financial, in kind and expertise support from business leaders, philanthropists and employees who have come to visit the prison with us.
Through these discussions and visits, programs such as Doin' Time have been born; a small T shirt printing business with each of the Prisoners taking an active role. Thriving with the support of Igniting Change's network of businesses, individuals and philanthropists over 10,000 T Shirts have been printed and $150,000 of revenue donated to charities chosen by the inmates.
After taking the CEO of
the Toll Group, on of Australia's largest logistic companies to visit the Unit, the flagship Second Step Employment program was established, with Toll regularly taking young men from the Unit into guaranteed employment on their release from Prison, with a retention rate of 95%, a win-win situation.
The latest exciting program catalysed by Igniting Change is STORIES FROM THE INSIDE, a documentary about a made in conjunction with the award winning team at Shark Island Productions, filmed, edited and directed by a group of prisoners inside the Youth Unit who have been motivated to tell their
stories with the aim of stopping other young men from making the same mistakes, and collectively we have given them a voice.
In the documentary, they reveal how they ended up incarcerated, how eaily they found themselves in prison, the bad choices and mistakes they've made, and the effects of their actions on themselves, their families and their victims. Made primarily for secondary school students, STORIES FROM THE INSIDE has been released as part of the education and outreach program and is being donated to all secondary schools in Australia, with a comprehensive study guide and interactive website.