spirit

lukewithkidsPacific Islanders in Australia usually gather in large numbers to celebrate. The large gathering last month at the Parramatta Town Hall in western Sydney was different. The Talanoa community forum more resembled a crisis meeting, attended by police, prison authorities, social workers, youth and church groups.

Led by the Fijian community, the gathering took a hard-headed approach to discovering why Pacific Islanders were so over-represented in New South Wales prisons. The lawyers and government people were there - but so too were ex-prisoners. In the coming weeks, Telinga Media, which supports the aims of the Talanoa process, will air a range of views aimed at improving Pacific Islander relations with the criminal justice system.

We hear in our podcast from a young ex-offender who's done his fair share of jail time. Luke Warwick-Smith is the son of migrant parents from Fiji. As you'll hear, Luke's moment-of-truth came while locked in a prison cell. It set him on a path where now he occupies a position of leadership and influence in his community that crosses generations.

And we present the views of social workers and community leaders as they strive to break the cycle of crime and imprisonment in the spirit of talanoa sparked by the Parramatta gathering.

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