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James

James HORSMAN

Year of Award: 1983 Award State: Tasmania Legal > Penal And Parole
To study development in services to young offenders - UK
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At the time of his Fellowship, Jim was Deputy Superintendent of the Ashley Boys’ Home at Deloraine, later being Superintendent until the late 1990s.

He was concerned at that time about the employment problems faced by the boys leaving care. Findings in the United Kingdom suggested that one of the key problems for the unemployed is the time on their hands, and often a lack of a family culture or tradition of employment. Without interventions to ‘break the cycle’, this had often led to vandalism and petty crime.

Some ‘job-training schemes’ were misleading, and were often not a long- term solution. The schemes were set up for the purpose of getting participants a job, but they knew there was nothing definite about them. Jim felt that one aspect of the English system that could be used in Tasmania was where Councils paid unemployed youths to work around the city for an extra fee on top of unemployment benefits. Such schemes could offer youths a sense of responsibility and community worth. Other excellent work schemes viewed in England included helping those with special needs, including the blind, to develop skills and find work.

The difficulty in both the UK and Australia was often in getting youth into a program and changing potentially criminal behaviours. Related to this was the fact that many young people who reached Ashley or other long-term care had had a turbulent upbringing, often with many changes of care; their attempts to branch out on their own often lacked the thought and support they needed.

Jim believed his Fellowship furthered his understanding of children in care and provided substantial food for thought in the work he subsequently undertook in social welfare.

As a total change of pace, he left Ashley to pursue more hands-on work, purchasing a franchise in Jim’s Mowing, and since retirement the long list of ‘Jobs by dad’ for any one of his six children has kept him very busy. He enjoys reading, music and movies when time allows. 

Excerpt from “Bringing Knowledge Home” published by the Churchill Fellows Association of Tasmania (2016) 

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