Six hours in the Old Mount Gambier Gaol wouldn't be anyone's idea of an ideal Friday night, but Naracoorte Independent Learning Centre educator Tammy Schinckel donned an orange jumpsuit in order to raise approximately $1000 for Whitelion.
Tammy, along with 35 other notable figures in the Limestone Coast, stayed for six hours within the gaol last Friday, from 5.30pm to 11.30pm. During their stay they were punished for any bad behaviour, with humiliation often being used as a coercive tactic.
The 'prisoners' also have their possessions taken away, are given a standard uniform, and are expected to eat prison gruel.
The purpose of Bail Out is to give others a glimpse of what life is like for those within the system, and Whitelion is a charity that works with disadvantaged youth to give them positive opportunities in life.
Thanks to 23 supporters, Tammy managed to raise $1150 with all of the money staying within the community.
"White Lion support programs that support at risk youth within our region. Simple as that really," Tammy said about deciding to join Bail Out.
"Anything that supports young people in a proactive way to find purpose and feel good about themselves and the communities they live in, I will try and support.
"Whitelion programs support young men and women with a focus on community connection and healthy lifestyles which is the same ethos we have at the Naracoorte ILC, so it was good to connect with an organisation that supports youth and is bigger than us.
"It was a unique opportunity to gain empathy rather than sympathy for young people who end up on the wrong side of the law."
Tammy went on to explain that Whitelion provides tailored prevention programs which are designed to give young people a purpose and a sense of pride, to help change their lives for the better.
Kerrie Sellen is the State Development Manager for Whitelion, and has worked with Tammy previously.
With Tammy and Mel Stephenson, Kerrie realised the potential of Bail Out 2019 coming to Mount Gambier, the first Bail Out held in the city for many years.
"Whitelion have a team of youth works and social workers supporting young people at risk and or disengaged from the mainstream education system," Kerrie said.
"We provide support to the young people and their families to help them overcome barriers (such as mental health, drug and alcohol, etc) and help them access learning and earning pathways."
For those in the South East, Whitelion provides transport for people to access appointments.
"Bail Out is so much more than just getting to experience what it was like to be held in prison conditions," Tammy said of the experience.
"The information that was shared, and the personal stories and insights were something I will have for the rest of my life."
Tammy was the first to enter the prison, and found being around real prison guards to be daunting.
"From there I was searched, fingerprinted, issued prison attire and had my mug shot taken, before constantly being yelled at about where to be, and then locked in a cell.
"When other "prisoners" were acting up I felt anxious about what would happen when the guards came to get them. It made me think about how terrifying it could be for a young person who was trying to keep their head down, but could end up in much more trouble through no fault of their own.
"Thankfully with organisations like Whitelion, young people are less likely to have to face some situations on their own."
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