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Through the Fence


On the Outside

What will you do about your house?

  • Department of Housing – To avoid debt or losing your house, tell the Department of Housing what is happening and ask what options you have – 24-hr/7-day phone 1800 422 322.
    You may be able to pay reduced rent for a short time, or be priority listed when you are released from prison.  If you don’t manage to do this before you go into custody, contact the Prisoners Legal Service from the prison phone (free call from the CADL list which should be on the wall next to the phone) and ask them to help you.


  • Community housing – Community Housing will remain in place for a period of three months while you are incarcerated, if you contact your tenancy manager and negotiate this. For sentences of more than three months, it is unlikely your tenancy will remain..


  • Private Rental – If you rent privately, tell your landlord or real estate agent about your  circumstances.   If you end the lease, you can try to get your bond back.


  • If you’re buying your home – Talk to your bank about changes to your home loan repayments.


> Do you have children?

If you have children, it is helpful to think about these things:

  • Will your children have to move house or change schools? Do you want to discuss the situation with your child’s teacher?   Call the school and ask to speak to your child’s teacher to let them know what is happening. Your child may need extra support and understanding at this time of upheaval and it is helpful for their teacher to know that it may be affect their schoolwork or behaviour.


  • What are you going to tell your children?  Onesimus is an organisation that supports children with a parent in prison and can help you think about how to talk to them about what is happening in an honest and sensitive way that they will find most helpful and least distressing. You can call Onesimus on 03 6124 6336 or email us at


  • Do you want your children to visit you while in prison?
    Maintaining contact with your children can help them to feel more secure and cope better with having a parent in prison. You can talk to us (Onesimus) about the challenges you are facing and we will guide you through the process.  Contact us. (see details above).


> What about Centrelink?

  • TPS will notify Centrelink within a couple days that you have entered custody.

  • If you are receiving Centrelink payments you should be paid up until the time you entered custody. 

  • Any outstanding money will be paid into the bank account your Centrelink has always been paid into. If you have not been paid your final payment you have 13 weeks to claim your payment after entering custody.

  • Notify a SAPO (Service and Programs Officer) that you want to make a claim so you can get the paperwork and have it filled in and submitted before the 13-week period expires that you have to claim. (TBC)


> Utilities (gas, electricity, telephone, internet) need to be paid

  • There is usually the option to have the account remain open, transfer it into another account holder’s name for a time or close the account indefinitely.

  • If these bills are in your name, contact the company about giving permission to someone else to act on your behalf.

  • If you don’t have anyone who can take over bill payments for you, it may be best to explain the situation and close your account.

  • If you have an outstanding bill, it is best to pay this if you can, otherwise the debt will increase while you are in prison and you will be faced with it when you are released.


> How to look after your furniture and household goods

  • If you’re going to be away for a long time and have nowhere to store your belongings, it might be better to sell your furniture. Otherwise, think about where you are going to store it – and if it is going to be safe there.

  • Make a list of what you own and who is storing it. 

  • If you have goods on hire purchase, get in contact with the company and discuss your options.


> What will you do about vehicles?

You will need to think about:

  • who will look after your vehicle,

  • where will it be stored,

  • who will be liable for any fines that are incurred by someone else while you are away

  • whose name will it be registered in.

If you may be in prison for some time, it can be better to sell your car.


> Looking after your pets

If you have any pets, you need to think about who is going to care for them or about finding them an alternate home.

Useful Contact Details
Housing Connect
1800 800 588
Aurora Energy
1300 13 2003
Child Safety Services
1800 000 123
Tasmania Prison Service
03 6165 7400

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