Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Associate Professor Katherine McFarlane

Associate Professor Katherine McFarlane

BA (USYD), LLB (USYD), Grad Dip (Legal Practice) (COLLEGE OF LAW), PhD (UNSW), Admitted as a solicitor to the Supreme Court of NSW

Profile

Associate Professor Kath McFarlane has over twenty years of policy and practical experience across bureaucracy, academia and politics.  As a law student she established a pro bono legal advice service for incarcerated women and later was an Official Visitor to NSW prisons. Admitted as a solicitor in NSW in 1996, she worked as a criminal lawyer and was the principal solicitor at the University of Technology's Community Law and Legal Research Centre from 1998-2000. She led the No New Women's Prison Coalition, an international coalition of prison reform advocates, gain a Parliamentary Inquiry into the prison system and is a former member of the NSW Corrections Health Inmate Advisory Group and the NSW Corrective Services' Women's Advisory Council. Kath was the Executive Officer both of the NSW Sentencing Council under former Police Royal Commissioner Judge Wood and of the NSW Children's Court. From 2011-2015 she was a Chief of Staff in the NSW Government across the portfolios of Planning and Infrastructure, Juvenile Justice, Corrections, Attorney General and Family and Community Services and Social Housing.

Kath’s thesis examined 'Care-criminalisation': the involvement of children in out of home care in the NSW criminal justice system and featured on the ABC's Lateline program to support the contention that 'the child protection and foster care system in Australia is serving as an incubator for a lifetime of crime, violence and prison'. Her expertise in this area has been recognised by the NT Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children (2017), the Australian Law Reform Commission (2018), the Law Council of Australia (2018) and other leading law reform bodies.

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Research

Kath’s research agenda comprises separate, but thematically consistent elements focused on understanding the criminogenic impact of a childhood experience of Out-Of-Home-Care. Her key areas of interest include:

  • prisons and community corrections
  • women and punishment
  • institutionalisation;
  • youth justice;
  • sentencing;
  • Indigenous social justice issues; and human rights.

Current Projects

CRG 22-16 Children in Out-Of-Home-Care (OOHC) in the criminal justice system: The view of Frontline Criminal Justice Professionals: (CIs Associate Prof. Kath McFarlane, Associate Prof. Alison Gerard, Dr Andrew McGrath and Dr Emma Colvin. OOHC advisors John Murray and Annette Gainsford (Indigenous OOHC)).
This project examines the involvement of children in residential care in NSW in the criminal justice system, through qualitative interviews with stakeholders both in NSW and in the UK, Court observation and systematic case-file reviews across NSW, based on location of residential care homes and Children’s Court locations.

Review of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998. (Sole CI)
Involved advising on a model to improve the safety and wellbeing of children in OOHC, particularly those at risk of involvement in the justice system.

A Comparative analysis of the socio-demographic and criminogenic characteristics of NSW prisoners with and without childhood experience of OOHC (with CI Dr Emma Colvin and Dr Azizur Rahman).
This project seeks to extend consideration of the criminogenic impact of a childhood experience of OOHC, by identifying the number of adults entering NSW prisons with this background.

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Supervision

Doctorate of Public Safety: Research of factors that increase the risk/incident of domestic violence after a disaster.

Masters Legal Research Dissertation:  "Gaari milga ngandal guugu, galmba bubu" –Don't forget language and country – the experience of assimilation.

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Teaching

Kath has taught across a range of subjects to deliver both law and justice studies.

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Awards

YearAward
2017Excellence in Impact Award - Centre for Law and Justice, Charles Sturt University
Demonstrated commitment to research that improves the situation of the most marginalised, disadvantaged and invisible groups in society
2016Five-Minute Research Pitch – Charles Sturt University
Inaugural winner, Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Represented CSU at national finals

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External Grants

YearGrant
2017CRG 22-16 Children in Out-Of-Home-Care (OOHC) in the criminal justice system: The view of Frontline Criminal Justice Professionals: $47,496 Australian Institute of Criminology, Criminology Research Grants.
CIs - Associate Prof. Kath McFarlane, Associate Prof. Alison Gerard, Dr Andrew McGrath and Dr Emma Colvin. OOHC advisors John Murray and Annette Gainsford (Indigenous OOHC).
2017Review of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998: $55,000 (inc GST)
CI - Kath McFarlane 
2016ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellowship Mentoring Scheme, University of Melbourne - Residential mentoring scheme for outstanding early career female researchers in humanities/social sciences

Internal Grants

YearGrant
2018Research Fellowship - Faculty of Business, Justice and Behavioural Sciences
Session buyout to facilitate research by participants in a current external grant
2018Research support – Faculty of Business, Justice and Behavioural Sciences
Support to facilitate the Public Lecture/Q&A session: From Nagle to Now – 40 years of prison reform and rehabilitation
2018Learning & Teaching support – Charles Sturt University
Buy-out support to facilitate learning tools following the Public Lecture/Q&A session: From Nagle to Now – 40 years of prison reform and rehabilitation
2017Research Compact - Faculty of Business, Justice and Behavioural Sciences
Financial assistance to develop research and external opportunities

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Professional Memberships

SHINE Research Practice and Advocacy Advisory Group

Provision of advice to the national charity that supports children with incarcerated parents and/or relatives in NSW, QLD, VIC and the ACT https://shineforkids.org.au/

2018   Just Reinvest NSW - Strategic Directions Committee

An independent, non-profit organisation auspiced by the Aboriginal Legal Service, JR represents over 20 organisations to address the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in custody through a justice reinvestment approach.

2018   Mid Nth Coast Community Legal Centre – Level –Up Out-of-Home Care Steering Committee

Provision of advice re specialised legal advice, education and support to young people in OOHC transitioning to independence http://www.lawfoundation.net.au/grants/awarded

2017   Aboriginal Legal Service - Bugmy Evidence Project Steering Committee

Provision of advice re the Indigenous social disadvantage for use in sentencing matters

2016   Corrections NSW - Women’s Advisory Council, (Commissioner’s appointment) (previous appointment 2008-2014)

Provision of advice on issues affecting women in the correctional system http://www.correctiveservices.justice.nsw.gov.au/Pages/CorrectiveServices/programs/women-offenders/womensadvisorycouncil

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Publications

Thesis

McFarlane, K. (2015). Care-criminalisation: The involvement of children in out of home care in the NSW criminal justice system. (Doctor of Philosophy), University of New South Wales, Sydney.

Journal Articles

McFarlane, K., Colvin, E, McGrath, A., and Gerard, A. (2018) ‘Just another policy document?’ Will the NSW Joint Protocol end the criminalization of children in Out-Of-Home-Care?’ The Alternative Law Journal (in press)

Gerard, A., McGrath, A, Colvin, E., and McFarlane, K. (2018) ‘I’m not getting out of bed! The criminalisation of young people in Out-Of-Home-Care’.  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0004865818778739

Colvin, E., McFarlane, K., Gerard, A. and McGrath, A. (2018) “We don’t do measure and quotes”: How agency responses criminalise and endanger the safety of children missing in care in New South Wales, Australia’. The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice pp. 1–19

McFarlane, K., (2018) ‘The criminogenic impact of child removal practices and the institutionalisation of children in Australia and New Zealand’ PacifiCrim: The Newsletter of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology. Vol 15 Issue 1May 2018 pg1-4

McFarlane, K. (2017) ‘Criminalisation of children in out-of-home care: findings from an Australian research study’. The Chronicle: Journal of the International Association of Youth and Family Judges and Magistrates. July 2017 ISSN 2414-6153 61-66 www.aimjf.org

McFarlane, K. (2017) ‘Improving data collection to better support children in out of home care at risk of offending’. Child, Family and Community, The Australian Institute of Family Studies https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/2017/10/18/improving-data-collection-better-support-children-out-home-care-risk-offending

McFarlane, K. (2017) ‘Care-criminalisation: the involvement of children in out-of-home care in the NSW criminal justice system’. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology. August 8, 2017 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0004865817723954

McFarlane, K. (2012) ‘From Care to Custody: Young Women in Out Of Home Care in the Criminal Justice System’, Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies.

McFarlane, K. (2010)From Care to Custody: Young Women in Out-of-Home Care in the Criminal Justice System’, Current Issues in Criminal Justice Vol 22 No 2, 345-353

Jones, C. Weatherburn, D. & McFarlane, K. (2008) ‘Public Confidence in the New South Wales criminal justice system’, Crime and Justice Bulletin No.118, NSW Sentencing Council & NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Sydney NSW.

McFarlane, K. (2008) ‘From Care to Crime – Children in State Care and the development of criminality’ in Cunneen C. and Salter M. (eds) Proceedings of the 2nd Australian & New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference, 19-20 June 2008, The Crime and Justice Research Network and the Australian and New Zealand Critical Criminology Network, Sydney NSW

Multimedia Publications

McFarlane, K. and Murray J. (2018) ‘Expunging the criminal records of kids in care does not absolve the state's injustices against them’ The Conversation, July 31st 2018 https://theconversation.com/expunging-the-criminal-records-of-kids-in-care-does-not-absolve-the-states-injustices-against-them-100510

McFarlane, K. (2018) ‘Child protection report lacks crucial national detail on abuse in out-of-home care’, The Conversation, March 9th 2018 https://theconversation.com/child-protection-report-lacks-crucial-national-detail-on-abuse-in-out-of-home-care-93008

McFarlane, K. (2017)Podcast ‘Questioning the economics of prison’ The Conversation, 31 October 2017 https://theconversation.com/business-briefing-questioning-the-economics-of-prison-86457

McFarlane, K. (2017) ‘The faulty child welfare system is the real issue behind our youth justice crisis’ The Conversation, 13 February 2017 https://theconversation.com/the-faulty-child-welfare-system-is-the-real-issue-behind-our-youth-justice-crisis-72217

McFarlane, K. (2016) ‘NSW Bail laws mean well but are landing homeless kids in prison’ The Conversation, 16 December 2016 https://theconversation.com/nsw-bail-laws-mean-well-but-are-landing-homeless-kids-in-prison-68490

McFarlane, K. (2016) ‘The single biggest reform to child welfare is a re-run of decade-old promises’ The Conversation, 18 November 2016 https://theconversation.com/the-single-biggest-reform-to-child-welfare-is-a-re-run-of-decade-old-promises-6882

McFarlane, K. (2016) ‘Nothing to see here: the abuse and neglect of children in care is a century-old story’ The Conversation, 15 November 2016 https://theconversation.com/nothing-to-see-here-the-abuse-and-neglect-of-children-in-care-is-a-century-old-story-in-australia-68743

McFarlane, K. (peer review of) Cashmore, J. and Libesman, T. (2016) ‘FactCheck Q&A: are Indigenous children ten times more likely to be living in out-of-home care?’ The Conversation 22 February 2016 https://theconversation.com/factcheck-qanda-are-indigenous-children-ten-times-more-likely-to-be-living-in-out-of-home-care-54825

Research Books & Monographs

Butler, A. & McFarlane, K. (2009) Public Confidence in the NSW Criminal Justice System. NSW Sentencing Council. Sydney NSW

Beckett, S. Fernandez, L. & McFarlane K. (2009) Provisional Sentencing for Children. NSW Sentencing Council. Sydney NSW

McFarlane, K. & Poletti, P. (2007) Judicial Perceptions of Fines as a sentencing option: A survey of NSW magistrates. NSW Sentencing Council, Sydney NSW

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Media

(2018) Western Advocate ‘Reform and rehabilitation: Public lecture looks at Bathurst Jail riots’ https://www.westernadvocate.com.au/story/5577942/lecture-looks-at-reform-over-40-years-for-nsw-corrective-services/?cs=115

(2018) 2BS Interview re the CSU From Nagle to Now public lecture and Q&A Panel

(2018) 2MCE Interview re the CSU From Nagle to Now public lecture and Q&A Panel

(2018) 2SRFRM Interview re the expungement of criminal records for people in out-of-home-care

(2018) ABC Central West (with Kristy Reading) re ALRC Pathways to Justice – Inquiry into Rates of Indigenous Incarceration (2018) http://news.csu.edu.au/latest-news/business-and-commerce/support-for-national-inquiry-to-break-care-to-prison-pathway

(2018) Western Advocate ‘Legal Minds left inspired by Justice Michael Kirby in Bathurst’  http://www.westernadvocate.com.au/story/5201244/legal-minds-left-inspired-by-justice-michael-kirby-in-bathurst/

(2018) Central Western Daily ‘Former High Court Justice Michael Kirby to deliver free lecture at CSU’ http://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au/story/5196618/former-high-court-justice-michael-kirby-to-deliver-free-lecture-at-csu/

(2018) Prime 7 News ‘Justice Michael Kirby at CSU, Bathurst’

(2018) ABC Riverina re the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the adequacy of youth diversionary programs in NSW

(2017) ABC Mid-West: Mornings with Melanie Pearce, regarding appearance before the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory http://news.csu.edu.au/latest-news/society/csu-expert-addresses-nt-royal-commission-on-children-in-detention

(2017) Environmentality – 98.9 Northwest FM (Victoria) regarding out-of-home care and youth justice in Victoria http://www.hipcast.com/podcast/HSy8Vwc4

(2017) ABC PM (online) ‘NSW Deputy Ombudsman criticises state's 'hodgepodge' child abuse monitoring system’ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-14/calls-for-national-child-protection-body-nsw-deputy-ombudsman/8269570

(2017) ABC Drive – Melbourne ‘Juvenile crime in Victoria’ http://www.abc.net.au/radio/melbourne/programs/drive/

(2017) ABC Riverina Breakfast regarding ‘Why our most vulnerable children are turning to crime’ – CRC grant on out-of-home care

(2017) ABC Central West regarding ‘Why our most vulnerable children are turning to crime’– CRC grant on out-of-home care

(2017) ABC Riverina regarding ‘Why our most vulnerable children are turning to crime’– CRC grant on out-of-home care

(2017) The Western Advocate. ‘Jail is not the answer for low level crime’ http://www.westernadvocate.com.au/story/4387124/jail-is-not-the-answer-for-low-level-crime/?cs=115

(2016) ABC Statewide Drive. Uniting Care exiting the NSW residential care system

(2016) 2SER FM. Homeless children in out-of-home care in jail.

(2016) Sydney Morning Herald. ‘Mike Baird announces reform to state's broken child welfare system’ http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/mike-baird-announces-reform-to-states-broken-child-welfare-system 0161117-gsrbb6.html

(2016) ABC PM. ‘Child protection model not the problem, breach penalties must be enforced: child welfare expert’   http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2016/s4575497.htm

(2016) ABC Riverina. Transparency and accountability in NSW juvenile prisons. https://www.facebook.com/abcriverina/posts/1170541202969118

(2016) WIN NEWS Riverina. ‘Appointment of District Court Judge Lerve. https://www.facebook.com/WINNewsRiverina/videos/vb.113992652021218/1077624188991388/?type=3&theater

(2016) Central Western Daily. ‘Reoffenders need time, compassion’ http://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au/story/4040029/reoffenders-need-time-compassion/

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