As the campus manager of Casaurina Prison, Dr. Delphine M. McFarlane is tasked with overseeing all educational and vocational training of inmates at Western Australia’s most noted maximum-security penitentiary. Having held this role since 2008, she is ready to implement some major changes in the delivery of education at Casaurina Prison. Dr. McFarlane and her team are placing a strong emphasis on specific job training for prisoners, as well as post-release support. Her team is also introducing new classes that focus on personal development and decision-making. The course, called “Standing on Solid Ground,” will concentrate not only on intellectual and physical skills necessary to succeed, but on emotional intelligence as well.
Dr. McFarlane shares that in general, the prison’s award-winning education unit targets at-risk young people in the prison system and Aboriginal people in the prison system because they require additional support. Casaurina Prison is the only penitentiary to offer language classes in Noongar, which is the language spoken by Aboriginal people in the southwest of Western Australia. Every year in July, the prison also devotes a week to celebrate Aboriginal culture and heritage. Known as NAIDOC Week, the weeklong event encourages improved literacy and creativity as the inmates write and perform songs, perform traditional dances, and produce artwork inspired by Aboriginal culture.