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The Worth A Second Chance Podcast

The Worth A Second Chance Podcast

By Jesuit Social Services
The Worth A Second Chance podcast explores true stories, challenges and solutions from the frontlines of Australia's youth justice systems.
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Liana Buchanan is asking our leaders to "do better" for youth in detention in Victoria

The Worth A Second Chance Podcast

Dave Hammond wants a youth justice system grounded in connection and restitution, not hatred and blame
Imagine you’re a kind-hearted community development worker, who believes young people are worthy, and need support, not punishment, when they do the wrong thing – and then one night, one of those kids breaks into your house. That happened to Dave Hammond. He’s worked for many years in homelessness and community services, including previously leading Jesuit Social Services’ work in western Sydney. A 14-year-old boy was one member of a group who broke into Dave and his wife Sal’s house a few years ago. Dave and Sal could have asked for the kid to be thrown in jail – but instead they took a closer look at what was going on in his life. Today, Dave tells that story – and much more, about the choices and moments that make us who we are.
September 26, 2022
Researcher Rob Bonnet’s “ripple effect” theory for reducing crime without using prisons
When a young person commits a crime, some people might call for them to be sent to jail. A place to punish them, to keep the community safe, and to deter others from doing the same thing. But the evidence tells us prisons aren’t effective at stopping crime. Eighty per cent of young people in Victoria will reoffend within a year of leaving detention, and the experience of being isolated in a harsh prison environment doesn’t help someone get on a better path. Now, new research shows that an approach called group conferencing is nearly twice as effective in reducing reoffending – without sending kids to prison. Today, researcher Rob Bonnet tells us why. Rob’s PhD research evaluated the effectiveness of the Victorian Government’s Youth Justice Group Conferencing program – the program brings together people who have offended with the victims of their actions in dialogue, to restore relationships, heal harm, and change behaviour. Here's what Rob found, why it works, and what this research could mean for youth justice in Victoria.
September 07, 2022
Kane Apelu celebrates resilience, ingenuity and second chances for un-housed youth in the justice system
Research tells us there’s a clear link between youth homelessness and involvement with the criminal justice system. Young people who are un-homed are more likely to engage in what’s called ‘survival crimes’, like stealing, to meet their needs, and are more likely to be seen and caught by police while they’re doing it. And people already in the justice system are more likely to be homeless as they come out, because of the challenges they face in finding work and accommodation with a criminal record. It’s tough. But it means if you can connect a young person with a home, you might be able to interrupt that cycle – and start to address the root causes of their offending behaviour, helping them leave crime behind. Today, hear from Kane Apelu on the Worth A Second Chance podcast. Kane manages Jesuit Social Services’ housing programs, and told us more about the link between being un-housed and getting caught up in the justice system – and the compassion, respect and support that make a real difference to young people’s lives.
August 28, 2022
Liana Buchanan is asking our leaders to "do better" for youth in detention in Victoria
Laws and policies are created by our leaders. But in a democracy, like Australia, everyday people can influence the decisions they make. And in the youth justice system, that’s really important. If we care about the children in detention and about how they’re supported to understand the impact of their actions and make changes in their lives, then we need to let our government know. Liana Buchanan returns in today's episode of the Worth A Second Chance podcast. She's the principal commissioner at the Commission for Children and Young People in Victoria, which is the state's independent advocate for the safety and wellbeing of young people. Liana tells us about the realistic and effective criminal justice reform that could happen in Victoria to improve the system, and the important role our whole community plays in ensuring those troubled young people are safe, supported and accountable. Here are the links we mention in this episode Our Youth, Our Way report – Commission for Children and Young People Care Not Custody report – Victoria Legal Aid Raise the Age petition Annual report 2020-21 – Youth Parole Board of Victoria
August 10, 2022
Jes Wikaira is "not your average support worker" for culturally diverse kids in Victoria's justice system
A Maori or Pasifika young person in Victoria’s criminal justice system might come across Jes Wikaira. She’s a cultural and intensive support worker on a program called the Youth Justice Community Support Service, which helps young people reset their lives and connect with the support they need after being in contact with the law. Jes works with and advocates for young people who come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. That’s important, because they make up around forty per cent of the people in Victoria’s justice system – a disproportionate rate, which is due to complex and overlapping factors, including the continuing impacts of colonisation, entrenched disadvantage, and disconnection from vital support. Here, Jes talks about the culturally safe support she provides to a whole family – not just an individual, in recognition of how Maori families like her own are comprised and understood – and the misconceptions about the people she works alongside that she’d like the wider community to extinguish, to make everyone feel more safe and welcome. Join our campaign for a more fair, humane and effective youth justice system at, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts to hear new conversations every second Wednesday.
July 28, 2022
Liana Buchanan's office is the "eyes and ears" scrutinising Victoria's youth justice system
On an average night in Australia, there's around 800 young people locked up in youth detention. But what do we know from there? What are the conditions like inside those facilities? What support do young people get to turn their lives around? And who makes sure everything's running as it should be? To answer those questions, meet Liana Buchanan. She's the principal commissioner at the Commission for Children and Young People in Victoria, which is the state's independent advocate for the safety and wellbeing of young people. Here, she talks about the experiences of young people who find themselves in detention; about her team of volunteers who go inside prisons every month to scrutinise what's happening; about how misleading media stories labelling kids 'young thugs' can change the way people are treated in the justice system – but also about the positive policy progress we've made in Victoria that she's keen to protect. Join our campaign for a more fair, humane and effective youth justice system at, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts to hear new conversations every second Wednesday.
July 13, 2022
#WorthASecondChance​ Community Check-in: What is Restorative Justice & Group Conferencing?
Have you heard the term 'restorative justice' but don't know exactly what it is? Have you ever wondered what is involved in a youth justice group conference? Either way this is the podcast for you.    Re-visit our Community Check-in with Genevieve Higgins, Manager of Community Justice Programs, who shares with us the values and processes that underpin this holistic and therapeutic approach to justice. Towards the end of this check-in Genevieve shares with us a moving group conferencing story that has really stayed with her.
May 19, 2021
#WorthASecondChance​ Community Check-in: Raising the Age of Legal Responsibility in the NT.
​Elle Jackson, Manager of Justice Programs in the NT shares with us her insights into youth justice in the NT and expands on why raising the age of legal responsibility will change the lives of young people all over Australia.
April 28, 2021
Episode 3 - Luke Anderson, public speaker, social entrepreneur and electrical contractor.
Luke Anderson is a Public speaker, social entrepreneur and electrical contractor. Luke has lived experience with the justice system and in this podcast he generously shares his life’s story with us. You can get in touch with Luke by connecting with him on LinkedIn.
February 17, 2021
Episode 2 - Vincent Schiraldi, justice reform expert.
Vincent Schiraldi co-founded the Justice Lab at Columbia University. The Justice Lab is devoted to reducing society’s reliance the criminal justice system as a solution to social problems through research; education; and convening scholars, practitioners, policy makers, advocates and formerly incarcerated people.  Projects include eliminating youth prisons, reducing the footprint and negative impact of community corrections, and creating a developmentally appropriate response to offending by young adults. In this candid conversation Vinny shares with us the story of how he came to work in justice reform and what it is that drives him to do the work he does. We hope you enjoy this chat with Vincent Schiraldi. You can find Vincent on LinkedIn here. And read some of his work here. 
February 04, 2021
Episode 1 - Bernie Shakeshaft of Back Track Youth Works.
Bernie Shakeshaft is the founder and CEO of BackTrack YouthWorks in Armidale NSW. He has spent the past 25 years living out his passion, working with dogs and supporting kids at risk. In 2006 with his children growing up and forging their own paths in life, he was determined to turn his vision of working with the most disadvantaged young people in our communities into a reality. To keep them alive, out of jail, and chasing their hopes and dreams. Under Bernie’s leadership, BackTrack has forged a new beginning for over a 1000 young people. In 2018 Bernie starred in a popular documentary, Back Track Boys, the film followed his work and the remarkable influence he has on a group of young people. In 2020 Bernie was awarded the Australian of the Year Local Hero award. You can watch the Back Track Boys Film here.  You can get into contact with Back Track Youth Works here.  Follow Worth A Second Chance on social media.  Instagram - @wortha2ndchance Twitter - @wortha2ndchance  Facebook - @wortha2ndchance  Learn more about the Worth A Second Chance campaign here. 
January 18, 2021