Australia's National Prison Newspaper

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ISSUE NO. 1

JULY 2024

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JULY 2024

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ISSUE NO. 1

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Letters

'Stay safe, brave and kind friends'

By Natascha

Natascha was incarcerated at Dillwynia Women’s Correctional Centre, NSW.

Unknown Source

Hi I’m Tasch. 

I spent nine months at Dillwynia CC in NSW; the first few weeks in Area 1 max and then in medium, but I quite quickly progressed to Area 2 minimum. I am currently completing 6 months reintegration home detention. This was my first time in prison and I feel that I did my time well. I went in prepared for anything but also with a basic daily plan that I could adhere to no matter what. 

This plan was to practise meditation, stretching and exercise at least once a day; to read; journal, practise gratitude and reflect. To eat as well as I possibly could and to sleep seven to eight hours each night; to be kind and compassionate to myself and others; to do my time and not get caught up in all the bullshit. 

I did all the courses suggested to me by my case manager and got a job as soon as possible. 

I stayed in my own lane; remembered that this was temporary; did my daily practice, which gave me purpose, focus and helped me stay well in body and mind, which is hard inside as you know. 

I had a few dramas whilst at Dillwynia. During those times I remembered who I was, what was important to me and got through it. I connected with other women who also just wanted to do their time and at one point had quite the group exercising daily with me. 

I showed up each day for myself, tried not to listen to all the bullshit people spun about progression and other things. I tell you it’s so confusing when you’ve never been locked up before. Information isn’t really provided. people talk shit and they can only speak from their own experiences. So if it’s your first rodeo don’t just believe everything you are told by others. Check the info! 

I made decisions based on facts, what was right for me and in line with the rules. When parole offered me reintegration home detention I was pretty stoked. I continued with progression and spent my last few months at the Independent Living Unit (ILU) where you work at CSI Logistics! Once there I never looked back. ILU was different, fewer people, everyone worked and there were other benefits. Anyways if you are at Dillwynia and you are not sure about progression just do it! 

As for release all I can say is have a plan; think about it before it sneaks up on you. I am lucky I have family support and a safe place to live. Not all of us do, so for those of you who don’t, please connect with the services available. Ask your case manager and SAPO. Inform yourself; be proactive! 

I highly recommend Success Works to assist with finding employment. They have employment opportunities and a mentor program. If you want to make changes in your life, remember it’s hard and takes time and effort but you do not have to do it alone! Reach out, get connected, get informed. Yes there are people who will judge but who cares right? I have experienced that there are lots of people willing to give you a second chance. Maybe you should too?! 

I believe prison is not the end of the line and a criminal record will only define you if you let it! 

I am currently training with Lifeline as a Crisis Supporter and have a few job applications pending. My RDH ends in July yah! I have lots of hope and plans for the future. Never give up on yourself! 

Please remember this is my experience and these are my beliefs, which are neither right nor wrong,so take from it what you will. 

Stay safe, brave and kind friends. 

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