Congratulations to everyone involved in the development of the Legal Information Portal for Prisoners, which won a ‘Working Collaboratively’ Award at the Department of Justice Staff Excellence awards ceremony on 9 December.
The Legal Information Portal is an intranet site for NSW prisoners about the law, legal systems and legal problems. The portal provides prisoners with access to relevant legal information and referrals. PIAC has been part of the project team since July 2012.
The Portal was an initiative of Corrective Services NSW and the NSW Legal Assistance Forum (NLAF) Prisoners Forum, and the project was initiated in 2010. Current members of the Legal Information Portal team include representatives from Corrective Services NSW, the Adult Education and Vocational Training Institute (AEVTI), Legal Aid NSW, NLAF, the Legal Information Access Centre, the Law and Justice Foundation and PIAC.
‘The development of the portal over time has demonstrated the value of open communication, cooperation and mutual support between the agencies involved, and our shared commitment to improve the ways we address prisoner needs,’ said PIAC CEO, Edward Santow.
The Portal has been installed on the offender computer network and rolled out across correctional centres in NSW. The material on the portal is organised into topics relevant to prisoners, including: police and courts; family law; money matters and visas and deportation. It is now possible to access the content of the Legal Info Portal from the Corrective Services NSW website. This means that lawyers can review the content on the Portal and then refer their clients who are in prison to legal information on the portal that is relevant to them.
‘Many prisoners have unresolved legal problems which escalate if unattended. Through assisting prisoners to access relevant legal information in ways that encourage more self-reliance and autonomy we believe the Portal helps to develop skills that assist in rehabilitation,’ said PIAC’s Senior Solicitor, Camilla Pandolfini.
The portal can be accessed here.