Alexis Harris

Victoria University of Wellington

In 2014, Alexis began writing her thesis as part of a Master of Arts in Criminology at Victoria University in Wellington. Her research is exploring the treatment and policy response to ‘at-risk’ male prisoners housed in New Zealand correctional facilities. She is undertaking her research and associated fieldwork with the support of the Department of Corrections.

Alexis' research will seek to identify and consider how multi-agency collaborations can contribute to the development of therapeutic models of care for male prisoners in 'At-Risk Units'. At-Risk Units are segregated, purpose-built facilities within New Zealand prisons, where prisoners who are considered ‘at-risk’ to themselves are placed to minimise the risk of self-harm and suicide. Her research considers a range of existing domestic and international policies currently governing At-Risk Units (and their overseas equivalents), with particular emphasis given to the development of therapeutically oriented, multi-agency practices. In particular, the increasing role of medical and forensic practitioners working within these sorts of Units will be examined. The thesis will also consider how competing security and healthcare priorities are balanced first hand, on a day-to-day basis, and whether these opposing obligations can be coupled in a way that promotes meaningful and beneficial outcomes for prisoners.

Alexis also works part-time at the Ministry of Justice as a policy advisor, a role which ideally complements her study. Alexis has also worked as a tutor and has interned at Parliament in the past, primarily within the criminal justice portfolio. She hopes to continue studying, learning and contributing an active voice to discussions around criminal justice issues and human rights in New Zealand in the years to come. In her spare time, Alexis enjoys reading, running (not too strenuously) and spending time with her lovely family, friends and two cats.