Student Profile: Rhiannon

How did you get involved in the Innocence Initiative?

I became involved with the Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative through my Bachelors degree of Criminology and Psychology at RMIT. BOHII has allowed me to complete a 20 day placement as part of my studies. I chose to apply to BOHII as I first heard about it in first year from my criminology lecturer and have been excited to participate ever since.

What do you do?

One of my jobs is to assess applications to the Initiative based on whether or not they meet the requirements of our ambit. However most of my time at the Initiative involves reinvestigating and analysing cases. This involves going through case materials to find inconsistencies and issues that may add to a review of the conviction.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of reviewing cases?

What I love most about working at the Initiative is the flexible nature of the investigative work, a lot of tasks delegated to us don’t have one single way of being done and involve a lot of critical thinking and thinking ‘outside the box. It’s extremely rewarding to work on a problem for hours or days, using creative methods of researching to finally find what you were looking for. I also really enjoy the team-work element, being able to chat with somebody about the confidential material we work with is very important.

What are the most difficult aspects of reviewing cases?

The only thing that I find negative about this type of work is the daunting nature of a large case with loads and loads of documents and jobs to be done, however the staff at BOHII are very good at breaking these down into manageable daily tasks for students and ensuring that there is varying material and work to be done when you need a break.

Has undertaking this internship changed your view of the criminal justice system?

Unfortunately, I would have to say that working at BOHII has lessened my already little faith in the justice system. However, it has been extremely eye-opening and an invaluable experience to learn the reality of dealing with the criminal conviction process and has helped me become aware of some of the big issues that need to be rectified.