News • 11 Oct 2022

CREST enables success by embracing diversity

Open Minds Community Re-Entry Services Team (CREST) in Townsville are planting the seeds of hope for people navigating the criminal justice system in far north Queensland and supporting them to avoid recidivism (reoffending).

 

Open Minds Community Re-Entry Services Team (CREST) in Townsville are planting the seeds of hope for people navigating the criminal justice system in far north Queensland and supporting them to avoid recidivism (reoffending).

This month we acknowledge Global Diversity Awareness Month (GDAM)* and for the last six years, CREST Manager Joanne (Jo) has worked with a devoted team who live the values of GDAM every day.

“We work with clients with diverse and complex needs, which can be challenging,” said Jo. “It can be easy to judge someone based on an undesirable life choice or mistake, but my team and I stay focused on the humanity of each client.”

“Every life has value, and part of embracing diversity is recognising that we are all on different journeys. Instead of judging someone for their behaviour, get curious and ask why they are acting that way.

“We encourage our clients to acknowledge their trauma so they can heal from it. This is an important part of reducing recidivism,” said Jo.

Jo’s team consists of ten case workers who share the same passion and determination to set clients up for success.

“It is incredibly satisfying when a client gets their life back on track and returns to our office to let us know we helped them change their life for the better,” Jo said.

CREST works with clients as soon as they become eligible for the service, generally three months before a person leaves prison and up to three months after re-entering the community.

Through CREST, clients are supported to access suitable accommodation; employment, education, and training; spiritual and emotional guidance; physical and mental health care; and recovery from substance abuse and domestic violence.

CREST Case Workers also support clients to become familiar with new technology that may have emerged while they were in prison, so that this is not a barrier to adjusting to life in the community.

Since its introduction in 2016, CREST has experienced success by reducing client recidivism by 6%.

Open Minds offers support through CREST to men and women from Townsville to Mt Isa (including Palm Island and Charters Towers) via three streams: in-prison, post-release management and parole support services.

The CREST Team is proud to have empowered hundreds of clients to rebuild their self-belief and break the cycle of imprisonment, thanks to funding from Queensland Corrective Services and partners such as Thread Together.

For more information about Open Minds’ CREST service, please visit our website.

*GDAM stems from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and urges us to remember the value of every human being regardless of their ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability or other traits that may encounter discrimination.

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