Homelessness Among the Australian Prisoners: Photovoice Assignment Project

The Community of Prisoners in Australia

The photovoice assignment project is a new participatory tool that is based on the health promotion principles as well as the theoretical education literature focused on the framework of consciousness, feminist theory and community-based mechanism of documentary photography. The project involves an analysis of the homelessness issue in an Australian community. The focus point of this photovoice project is the Australian prison, whereas homelessness is a major issue in this community. In 2014, the total number of prisoners in Australia had reached 34,000 persons, out of which 2,591 persons were women. Besides, two communities, aboriginals and the Torres Straights, have about 14 times higher the imprisonment probability than other indigenous Australian communities. This implies that the issue of homelessness is a major expression among the two communities relative to other groups from Australia.

The community of prisoners suffers from different aspects of natural calamities as well as artificial short-comings, particularly as a result of homelessness, which is also a major source of health-related challenges. The lack of sufficient housing often results in the congestion which poses significant health threats to individuals serving imprisonment terms. This implies that the Torres and Aboriginal communities are highly susceptible to health challenges as they are credited with a higher probability of imprisonment against their native counterparts in Australia (Hennessy). Therefore, this photovoice project demonstrates the glaring state of homelessness that rocks up prison communities of Australia.

Overview of the Photo-Voice Community

The rate of incarceration of South Australians and Australians has been on a rising trend. The problem of imprisonment and homelessness has become a major challenge in the pool of imprisoned individuals. The majority of individuals in the prison custody are geared for the release back into the society, while many of the offenders have been injected back to the community under the supervision following a court order designed to alleviate the strains in the prison department which has been experiencing a significant threat of homelessness and a potential challenge of sustaining by the government (Gunn & French). The release of prisoners under the community supervision program has been one of the staged mechanisms aimed at ensuring that the offenders are given meaningful opportunities to address their respective offensive behaviours in order to eventually break the general cycle of crime. There is a substantial need for the safety and security outline in the prison department as well as for the group under community supervision program. The consideration of the two groups is, however, anchored on the basic constituent of the groups’ experiences, which are mainly entrenched in the daring scenario of homelessness among prisoners (Fortin & Moravac).

The prison department has been credited with employing more than 1600 employees who are responsible for managing nine prisons and 17 correctional offices in the community domains throughout the state. Despite the daring challenge, the department fosters a high level of the diversity and equity in its workforce, which has a direct impact in contributing towards a higher effectiveness as well as better outcomes. The continued enhancement of the workforce and the general organisational development is a major virtue in the achievement of positive results, including the resolve for acquisition of sufficient housing premises for the community of prisoners. Amidst a series of constrained resources, the department has been straining to achieve a high prisoners’ service delivery mechanism in order to alleviate strains among the prison community and promote the reformation process for the offenders.

In terms of the improvement of housing conditions, the prison community has been targeting a wide range of eternal mechanisms to augment resource supplies in facilitating quick reforms in behavioural aspects of the prisoners. This department also encourages the adoption of the general policy that enhances a career development from the sector where individuals interested in promoting the prisoners’ welfare through a professional development are encouraged to seek placement in the department (Bukowski & Buetow). This is considered as some of the mechanisms aimed at promoting the overall challenge of both reform process and housing in the long-run.

Using Liberatory Community Building, Rights from Below Methods

The course of imprisonment is a rough occasional process which is characterized with a high influx of individuals suffering discords with their own lives. The consideration of thte young generation with the intention of gathering information for the photovoice project is anchored on the perspective that any successful promotion involving the young generation should adopt very creative approaches as well as highly-committed workforce who are indebted to learn from mistakes that were previously committed in order to perfect their accomplishments. Some prisoners are incarcerated due to drugs addictions. This is a behavioural aspect that can be rectified in the course of time (O’connor). According to one of the photovoice perceptive analysis, a prisoner Ruby exhumes their condition by associating the behaviour with the addiction. At one point, the prisoner compares the drug addition to a carousel as shown in the picture below:

This photovoice project encompasses an analysis of the perspectives of the young population of both female and male genders that are aimed at facilitating a successful adoption to the equitable sex perspective without alignments to social-cultural and gender traits with special regards to the Australian population, thus, reducing the exposure to imprisonments that would eventually reduce the number of imprisoned individuals and mitigate homelessness issues in the long-run (Tobin & Kahle).

The sources are also long-leaded in order to pave a way for the comprehensive planning. With the entrenched perspective of prisoners in Australia, this framework creates a robust approach to re-defining a social justice (Molloy). Despite the importance of planning on gender issues, the flexibility of needs of participants is also critical in developing a significant framework towards aligning the needs of individuals and the specific traits of their genders. For instance, in any social set ups, there are certain roles that are primarily focused on creating social facets that define the social groups as females and male individuals (Alston).

In the view of the community group of focus, women comprise of minorities in the imprisonment rates across Australia. In the society, there have been a growing number of female participants who have taken leadership positions towards achieving a roadmap for the advances of other women or female counterparts in general (Darab & Hartman). In this group, women make more than fifty percent of the entire group and about 46 percent of the employees. However, the disparity is immense with regard to the overall returns on the employment, where women have been earning less than their male counterparts. Some of the initiatives to mainstream have been staged by both the government and the civil society (Collins & Getty).

Therefore, the issue of homelessness is a blowing challenge among the prison community which indicates a glaring need to enhance a social-cognitive challenge among prisoners. In particular, the prisoners incarcerated over civil cases, such as drug addiction, are meant to face a inevitable challenge of homelessness and other problems associated with the minimal freedom and exposure which enhance their recurrent consideration of behaviours after serving jail sentences, thus, avoiding recurrent offenses (Campbell).

Besides, other behavioural aspects that result in the imprisonment include a sexual harassment in the workplace that is mainly anchored on the overlooked gender equity among different players which has also been detrimental to the creation of robust instruments in understanding of imprisonment rates and resultant challenges. This understanding is essential in terms of assisting individuals in refraining from coercive behaviours that limit the freedom and eventually result in the imprisonment (Baron). The condition scan of a prisoner in the Australian prison shows a life pattern challenge as a result of the incarceration which can be demonstrated by the existing cracked life due to the gradual behavioural influence. Meanwhile, the individual drug addicts are unable to express their particular conditions due to social obstructions that limit a long-term understanding of their actual problem as shown in the picture below:

Gender aspects identified in this photovoice case are minimal, although they are associated with higher impacts on the crimes outlay and eventual homelessness challenge. It is clear that about 25 percent of the women in Australia have been subjected to the sexual harassment in the workplace during the period between 2007 and 2012. The perpetrators of this harassment have often been co-workers comprising of more than 50 percent. Some of the harassments that involved high frequencies include sexually suggestive jokes or commentaries and intrusive questions regarding women’s private lives or appearance. These advances show some behavioural aspects that lead to the imprisonment (Fotheringham, Walsh, & Burrowes).

The photovoice project also encompasses a mechanism aimed at creating a platform for engaging young homeless persons through important health promotions activities as well as planning. The photographs are critical to the projects’ main communication platform and self-expression mechanism. The main focus of these homeless persons is the group drawn from Melbourne region of Australia, which is characterized with original measures aimed at encompassing creative approaches and innovative workers eager to learn from mistakes (Van Egmond & Western). The consideration of the young homeless persons’ participation in Young Health services centres. This is critical in understanding of the actual perspective of the homeless young population.

Data Presentation

The case involves a story of Ruby, an Anglo-Australian working class individual who had been imprisoned at the age of forties, having served an eighteen months jail term. Before the imprisonment, Ruby was working as an office clerk. During the time of the offense, Ruby had been struggling to fight the depression arising from a break up in his relationship, hence partaking in gambling as a means of eluding the situation. According to Ruby, the issue that led to his incarceration and serving jail term began as a pure fun, but later spilled off. From the photovoice review, the understanding of social challenges pertaining to the execution of gender roles in the society is critical to developing a social framework for the development. Despite the civil crimes committed by the individuals in different sectors, Ruby shows the wild experiences of women prisoners, in particular when they are lumped up into a common prison embankment with other offenders of serious crimes. A change from the ordinary lifestyles to a sudden homeless situation often influences the normal lifestyles of individuals and may impact on post-imprisonment lives of the individual prisoners.

People have a long-term negative perception of the ex-prisoners regardless of the general cause of the imprisonment. The perspective of Ruby, which basically entails a civil case but ex-prisoner lifestyle, is affected by negative perceptions and may result in the permanent isolation in the society, hence a sense of homelessness being extended beyond the prison door. As a result, the ex-prisoner is subject to a considerable loss of dignity as demonstrated in the pictorial below:

The prison life is full of humiliation and abject loss of dignity which is often manipulated through ideal behavioural changes. For instance, Ruby cites some of the private activities such as peeing and urinating being done in the view of the prison warden. This eventually erodes the prisoner’s dignity and contributes towards a subjective loss of individual enthusiasm in conduct of oneself. In general, Ruby portrayed extensive in-prison unhealthy experiences. The general idea behind these challenges lies in the sense that the prison lifestyle is highly devoid of the basic home-based service and pertinent care, hence, the experience of homelessness among prisoners as demonstrated by this photovoice preview.


From the photovoice project, it is clear that the prison life is a subject to many denials of the basic human rights, including the access to basic shelter framework, thus, leading to the experience of homelessness. The denial of access to various services and social lifestyles is critical to leveraging a negative behaviour and the overall change in conduct that is intended to be achieved at the close of the prison term. The integration of different offenders ranging between civil to criminal offenses into a common prison walls also creates a negative impact on the ex-prisoners’ lives as it results in the exposition of civil offenders to potential criminal experiences as they serve prison terms in common prisons (Bottomley & De Lepervanche).

In particular, the advances made in the social perspective is critical to ensuring that social discriminations do not curtail the development through overstretched human resources with the majority of male population comprising the main production group that creates a distributive mechanism of talents and training potentials. Studies seeking to engage women proactively in the economic segments have been claiming the prudential considerations of individuals in determining organisational human resource structures and service delivery portfolios. Such advanced disparities between genders are also considered major contributors towards crime occurrences (Wang).

Therefore, the photovoice is anchored on the integral role of women in enhancing the organisational performance through prudence in the service delivery and the overall institutional capacities that drive an institutional growth. The screened effect of women’s roles in the community’s development is anchored on the ability of women that supersede men’s capacities, especially when social attributes of keen and focus are concerned (An-Na’im & Naim). The group also attributes the lack of a sufficient number of women in the management and other society-based organisations to the considerable lack of self-drive and the due imperatives that are essential in generating high-powered achievements. The access to resources and the power to manipulate them through the power bestowed on the individual women personnel is considered an important pillar of the development (Kotz & McDonough).

The experiences of youth homelessness is a major challenge in Melbourne community of Australia and must be addressed with immediate and active approaches that seek to encompass a high power impact of homelessness among youths. In most governments, this is also considered a potential source of the insecurity as the number of youths who are less integrated into the active economic segments supersedes the number of youths who are fully engaged. The consideration of youth homelessness is, therefore, a subject to multiple interpretations. Youths in prisons also suffers acute shortage of effective medical services that are essential to the development of sustainable social habits (Alston).

Implication for Social Work

This analysis shows that the imprisonment of individuals impacts on their social orientations after having served the prison terms. In particular, the individuals feel overwhelmed and have a low self-esteem due to the exposure during the imprisonment. This aspect is essential in changing the social work and perspective of social abilities. However, though imprisonment creates a direct impact on homelessness among other challenges, it is often considered as an imperative form of the disclosure that makes individuals realize their hidden potentials after being integrated back into the community after the survival through hardships in prisons (Campbell). These potentials are often unrealized before the imprisonment. As a result, the experience may change the larger social framework that defines social attributes of individuals.

The individuals in prisons are often supported by their family members, counsellors and social workers. These forms of assistance are essential in promoting the individual perceptions of their special attributes which include re-positioning their individual capacities and roles in the society and consequent re-integration back into the society. In this regard, in the course of the imprisonment, a scenario is usually created involving the future social integration and improved focus on enhancing of the social connectivity to each other. During the imprisonment period, realizing the mutual support from the community and family members through personal experiences of imprisonment also offers an ideal behavioural change capacity in the long-run. Besides, the lives ran by individuals based on old connections promote their capacities to make preferential changes in life that are critical to establishing an ideal response to future social challenges.

The lack of the social support may create a series of challenges in re-uniting individuals from prisons and establishing their placement in the society with regard to domestic settlements. Experiences of prison lifestyles, which are grossly characterized by hardships, provide an apprehension and excitements on a possible new start or new direction in life which may define a change in the social orientation of individuals and the society at large. The social orientations of the prison departments are, therefore, bound to change amidst constrained resources to impact on ex-imprisonment experiences positively.


From this project, the perspectives of various aspects of the society and the values they inculcate in general are a major pillar in the advancement of the championed mechanisms of enhancing the integration of prisoners back into the society amidst changing the perception of ex-offenders. In this regard, the rising concerns of diverse abilities that women have in the execution of different roles in the society are important in creating a sustainable performance through the employment of both female and male genders in the execution of general and specific mandates. The experiences of offenders in prisons are also horrifying with an incredible loss of dignity due to the adverse conditions of the convicts. The medical aspects of the individuals within the prison confinements are also terrifying as they present unique challenges that often create a major challenge in terms of the sustainable reforms of the offenders.

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