Cultural Review of the Adult Custodial Corrections System

Victoria’s prisons and correctional centres are a central part of our state’s justice system. It is vital that they are safe environments for both the staff who work within them and for people in custody. An independent Review is currently underway, examining the culture within the adult custodial corrections system in Victoria

The Review will examine the culture, experiences, systems and processes within Victoria’s prisons and correctional centres. It will draw on research, data and the direct testimony of people who have experience of the corrections system to develop recommendations that will promote a safer corrections system characterised by respect, equality, transparency and support. In recognition of the continued over-representation of Aboriginal people in custody, the Review will also look carefully at Aboriginal cultural safety and self-determination.

Examining both private and public corrections facilities, the Review will focus on two streams of inquiry – ensuring the wellbeing and safety of staff within the adult custodial corrections system, and ensuring the system is safe for people in custody, promotes rehabilitation and caters to their needs, to ensure the system improves community safety.

The Review begins in August 2021 and will report to the Minister for Corrections in mid 2022.

Download the Terms of Reference

Your experiences can help shape the review

To help shape the Review’s findings and recommendations, we hope to hear from many people who have lived experience of Victoria’s custodial corrections system. You might be a current or former staff member within a corrections environment, or you might have spent time in custody, or have a family member who has. You might have worked in the custodial system to help or advocate for people in prison. We are keen to hear about both challenging and positive experiences and opportunities for change. Find out more about how you can participate:

Expert Panel

The Review will be overseen by three independent expert advisors and the Review Lead. They bring together extensive experience working with vulnerable Victorians, a deep understanding of the justice system, and expertise in workplace culture and safety.

Greg Smith AM

Greg Smith AM - Expert Advisor

As a former Deputy President of the Fair Work Commission, Greg has extensive experience in industrial relations, safety and workplace culture reform.

Jill Gallagher AO

Jill Gallagher AO - Expert Advisor

Jill has been the CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation since 2001 and has specialist expertise in improving the lives of Aboriginal Victorians and reducing over-representation in the prison system. Jill is also the former Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner.

Tim Cartwright APM

Tim Cartwright APM - Expert Advisor

Tim has more than 40 years’ experience in Victoria Police, including as Acting Chief Commissioner. He was the inaugural Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor.

Kristen Hilton

Kristen Hilton - Review Lead

Kristen served as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner from 2016 to 2021. She has conducted workplace equality reviews into Victoria Police, Victoria's fire services and Ambulance Victoria. Prior to her appointment as Commissioner, she was the Executive Director of Civil Justice at Victoria Legal Aid.

Review schedule

Establishment – August to September 2021

During this phase, we will set up the Review, including finalising the scope of the Review and developing our research methodology for approval by the Justice Human Research Ethics Committee in line with research ethics requirements.

Research and engagement – September 2021 to February 2022

During this phase, we’ll be gathering qualitative and quantitative data about the experiences of custodial staff and people in custody, as well as insights from organisational stakeholders and advocates. We will use a combination of surveys, confidential interviews, focus groups and written submissions

Analysis – November 2021 to April 2022

During this phase, we will analyse the information we have received from custodial staff, people in custody, and organisational stakeholders and advocates, to build our understanding of common themes and experiences. We will also be developing ideas and strategies that could promote a more positive workplace and correctional culture.

Reporting – March 2022 to mid 2022

During this phase, we will prepare our findings, test our recommendations with key stakeholders, and share our report with the Minister for Corrections.