- Inside help: David Gillies (left) and Phillip Daffern are doing their bit to help reduce recidivism at Parklea Prison. Picture: Carlos Furtado
IN the Big House, Five8 is prison slang for “my mate”.
It is also the name of a Hills-based program providing friendship, support and accountability among inmates of Parklea and Junee prisons.
“There’s an earth shift now, that locking people up and throwing away the key is not really doing the trick,” program co-director David Gillies, of Round Corner, said.
Five8 volunteers are educators, ministers and employers, who, after training, visit inmates in prison.
“Others provide beds, work, $100 a month,” program co-director Philip Daffern, of Beaumont Hills, said.
“Finding accommodation is a nightmare for ex-offenders.
“One man in The Hills is building cabins on an acreage with the hope of building a community.
“I’ve met thousands [of inmates and ex-inmates] but am yet to meet someone who wasn’t a victim first.
“In the prisons 83 per cent come from severely dysfunctional backgrounds.
“One man, I met him at 23. His mother was a drug-addicted prostitute, his father was an abusive drug dealer.
“He was traded into a paedophile ring at six months old, was introduced to heroin by his mother at 10 years old and didn’t leave this [paedophile] ring until he was 12.
“We need volunteers and funding to empower people like him to build a better life.”
■ Five8 is an initiative of non-profit organisation Prisoner and Aftercare Support Services. Details: five8australia.com.au.