Beyond Barbed Wire Program

Children need safe, strong, and nurturing families in order to thrive.

What is Beyond Barbed Wire?

Beyond Barbed Wire is a specialist program supporting incarcerated mothers to prepare them for their return to their family and community. The program works towards creating safe futures for children by supporting families, understanding their individual cultures and strengthening connections within communities.


How we help incarcerated mums


Remain connected to children

We support mums to remain connected with their children while incarcerated, and post release

Develop parenting skills

Empowering mums to develop the knowledge and skills needed to parent their children while incarcerated and post release

Help with social isolation

Reduce the experience of social isolation for mums leaving jail

Access support services

Connect mums, their children, and families with relevant support services upon release from jail to reduce the experience of harms, re-offending, and recidivism

Reduce children in care

Reduce the numbers of children who experience Out-of-Home Care due to parental incarceration

"Beyond Barbed Wire have given me hope and the strength and support to keep going."


Helping women gain confidence and valuable life skills

Part of the Beyond Barbed Wire program is to support mums reconnect with their children, families and community after their time in jail. This is where the Three Wise Women Café helps. The café is more than just a coffee van, it is a social enterprise that is run by mothers who have been involved in the criminal justice system, providing opportunities for mums to build their confidence and gain valuable skills like cash handling and customer service as well as receiving barista training. These community connections make a real difference to women who are rebuilding their lives.

Three Wise Women Coffee Cart
Play Video about Three Wise Women Coffee Cart

See the program in action:
Three Wise Women coffee cart

“Well, this is our social enterprise: the Three Wise Women coffee cart. We use the coffee cart to train mums to gain employment skills, job skills and self-confidence.”

“It’s actually giving people that have come out of jail the opportunity to come back into the workforce.”

“Once I made it out I thought: nah, that’s it, I’m done for. That’s my life done. But Shiree and the girls are showing me it’s not the case at all. Made my way back into work.”

“Fat Poppy provide all of our coffee beans. They really are coffee that cares. I think the most important thing, besides being a fabulous barista, is those skills that we take for granted sometimes like confidence, money handling, and it’s just fantastic to see women come on board and just throw this amazing amount of confidence.”

“Seeing people smile, give them a good coffee and they just smile, their faces light up.”


Outstanding outcomes for mothers

60 %

94.7% of women did not return to jail after 1 year

75 %
All women were supported into stable housing upon release from jail
75 %

94% of women reported an increased sense of purpose and hope


Beyond Barbed Wire services

Social enterprise in community – training and work experience

We offer targeted training and employment opportunities for mums who are or have been in contact with the criminal justice system. Participants have opportunities to develop skills and gain experience by hosting events in community with the Three Wise Women mobile cafe.

Community and sector education

This program facilitates a range of community and sector training/professional development workshops across NSW. These workshops include barista training, Hearts Inside and Visiting Prisons for children, young people and carers.

Parenting and life skills programs in custody

Parenting programs provide information and examples about child development, strategies for helping children at school and at home, learning through play and other practical support.

Case management model

Including: weekly home visiting, specialist referrals to health services, legal services and therapeutic services such as psychologists and residential treatment programs, Court support, links to community networks and activities, mentor support, early learning enrolments, supported playgroups, after-school activities for children, education, and training opportunities.

Mentoring program

We match mums leaving custody with a trained volunteer in their local community. This helps reduce the experience of isolation and builds strong connections to the community in a supportive environment.

Short stay transitional accommodation

Short-term (1-3 months) supported accommodation for mums who are in contact with the criminal justice system or are being released from custody. Women, who meet the eligibility criteria and have dependent children, will be given priority. It is not an emergency accommodation service.


Beyond Barbed Wire program eligibility

Being impacted by the criminal justice system can be a daunting experience. Beyond Barbed Wire Program is here to support mums to create a pathway towards change.

Learn more