19 November 2018: “I love doing research and teaching,” says University of Canberra’s Professor Lorana Bartels, who has just been named the ACT Academic Woman Lawyer of the Year. The award acknowledged her work as an academic lawyer and as an advocate for social justice.
Professor Bartels, who was until recent the Head of the School of Law and Justice, gained her award jointly with Parastou Hatami, Supervising Solicitor and Program Manager, of the Dhurrawang Aboriginal Human Rights Program at Canberra Community Law.
Professor Bartels has been a strong advocate for social justice, with a focus on prison reform. She says, “I have worked in a variety of roles in criminal justice and I keenly advocate for a fairer and more compassionate justice system”.
Teaching and researching in a wide range of criminology and criminal justice areas, Lorana has a particular focus on sentencing and corrections, as well as the treatment of women and Indigenous people in the justice system. To this end, she has, over a number of years, raised questions about the high level of Indigenous incarceration. In 2016, she contributed to the National Law Reform Conference, presenting detailed research about the impact of incarceration on Indigenous Australians.
In the presentation, Professor Bartels pointed out that Indigenous people make up three per cent of the Australian population but 27 per cent of the adult prison population. Furthermore, she identified that a third of the adult female prison population and 59 per cent of the juvenile detention population are Indigenous. Professor Bartels has called for well-informed media coverage of the issue and points out that prison doesn’t cut crime.
Professor Bartels, who has recently been appointed a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, has long advocated for the need to change our approach to imprisonment in Australia. She serves a wide range of high-level roles within this area, including as a member of the ACT Government’s Law Reform Advisory Council and Reducing Recidivism Advisory Group, the ACT Law Society’s Criminal Law Committee, the Prisoners Aid ACT Management Committee, the National Sentencing Network and the International Society for Therapeutic Jurisprudence Global Advisory Council.
Lorana is also a member of the editorial boards of the Alternative Law Journal, Criminal Law Journal and International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Tasmania and Life Member of Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge. She intends to continue to provide expert advice to bring about substantial reform.