Closing The Gap: A Look at The Gap in Justice

Liz Hayden gave a moving Welcome to Country and then Josey our Cultural Architect introduces the three guest speakers.

Two of the speakers, Mervyn Eades and Kevin Ward, spoke of their lived experience in the justice system. Starting at just 14 years of age in the juvenile justice system and then moving on to the adult system. They also shared the impact this has had on their lives and their families.

We would like to thank Mervyn, from Ngalla Maya: Aboriginal Employment Access and Kevin, from Kinship Connections WA for sharing their stories and inspiring us to have courageous conversations about the impact of incarceration on Aboriginal lives.

James Back from Reconciliation WA shared his journey of travelling through Turkey and then teaching in the desert community of Punmu and challenged us to play an even greater role in helping to bring about real change in our community.

You can read more about the speakers below.

Mervyn Eades  |  Founder and Chief Executive Officer  |  Ngalla Maya Aboriginal Corporation

Nyoongar man Mervyn Eades is the CEO of the Ngalla Maya Aboriginal Corporation; the organisation he founded and developed to respond to the high rates of illiteracy, lack of educational qualifications and joblessness among former inmates.

From the age of 13 to 31, Mervyn was in and out of juvenile detention and prison. He lost an 18-year-old brother to a death in prison custody.

Mervyn was recognized with the 2016 Eddie Mabo Award for Social Justice at the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards. Ngalla Maya provides training, education, mentoring for former inmates. Ngalla Maya provides ongoing mentoring, long after its graduates are employed.

In the last 18 months, Ngalla Maya registered more than 200 former inmates into training programs with 100 of the graduates into pre-agreed employment. Ngalla Maya is Perth-based, recently expanding into WA’s south west.

Ngalla Maya sponsors the Women’s Reintegration Program.

Research demonstrates that Ngalla Maya individuals are unlikely to reoffend.

Kevin Ward  |  Nyoongar man  |  Lived experience in the justice system

Kevin is a Nyoongar man with an experience of growing up in and out of the justice system.

We are thankful that Kevin has agreed to share his story with us.

James Back  |  CEO  |  Reconciliation WA

James is the CEO of Reconciliation WA. A teacher by qualification, James has taught in the Perth metropolitan, regional and remote WA and further, in a number of other countries including the UK and Turkey.

Community development works, primarily targeting Education and Health in disadvantaged and vulnerable communities have been James’ passion and forte for the past twenty years.

James has a Bachelor of Science, Diploma of Education, P.Grad. Dip in Health, a Master’s in Education and has deferred his PhD studies.

James took on a research project in the Western Desert working with the Martu People in 2002. He lived in Punmu Community for 7 years and worked with the Martu for 10 years as a researcher, practitioner, educator, teacher and school principal.

James has been on the team at Reconciliation WA since its inception and is firmly committed to the strategic vision and operational goals of the Association.