About OARS Community Transitions

The Purpose of OARS CT


OARS CT has been delivering high quality professional services and support to people who have offended and their families for over 130 years.  While the Vision and Mission statements have changed slightly over the years, our core business serving the most vulnerable clients in the community has remained unchanged. Over recent years OARS CT has been working very hard to advocate for better public policy to reduce the overuse of incarceration, implement Restorative Justice and improve community safety.

Statement of Purpose

Enhancing community wellbeing by reducing offending and victimisation.

Strategic Directions

  • Reintegration Services
  • Rehabilitation Treatment Services
  • Advocacy
  • Victims & Crime Prevention
  • Organisational Excellence

Guiding Principles

  • Social Justice
  • Restorative Justice
  • Community Participation
  • Human Rights
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Advocacy
  • Prison as a Last Resort


  • OARS Community Transitions believes that restorative principles should guide the development of policy and services in the criminal justice system. We subscribe to the International Covenant on Victims’ Rights.
  • Diversity in human life is valued as an important community asset and specific groups of disadvantaged people should not be further disadvantaged through interaction with the criminal justice system.
  • Provision for minimum standards in accord with the United Nations Minimum Standards should be implemented within correctional facilities.
  • Capital punishment is not acceptable in our society.
  • People have the right to choose their lifestyle whilst accepting responsibility for their actions.
  • Investment in early intervention and crime prevention strategies will prove beneficial at both the individual and social levels.
  • Alternative sentencing options to imprisonment should be regarded as high priorities.
  • People who have offended and their families should be treated with a non-judgemental attitude.
  • Prisoners are punished by the restriction of their liberty and whilst imprisoned they must be treated humanely and with dignity. Implicit in this is recognition of the fundamental importance of active and respected involvement of families and children in the lives of offenders.
  • Offenders have the right to be involved in the decision-making processes of their restoration, reconciliation and rehabilitation.
  • Participation of offenders in rehabilitative processes will enhance reintegration into their families and the wider community.
  • Social justice principles should be applied in the criminal justice system.
  • Collaborative decision making with all stakeholders involved should be central to policy development and service delivery in the justice system.
  • Service development should be based on social science research whenever possible.
  • Freedom of religion and spiritual expression should be granted to all persons residing in South Australia prisons.

Community Transitions Board of Directors

The management is vested in the Board which includes the following members:

Chair Annabel Shinkfield
Deputy Chair Kelly-Ann Tansley
Director Peter May
Director Jane Zadow
Director Christopher Lines
Director Katherine McLachlan
Director Richard Stanley
Director/Chief Executive Officer Leigh Garrett




ANNABEL SHINKFIELD was appointed Chair of the Board in October 2012.  She has been a Board Member since November 2005, and served as Deputy Chair of the Board from Nov 2008, before being elected as Chair in October 2012.

Annabel’s current roles as Head of Operations, Scouts SA, and Founder/Owner of The Customer Collective consultancy, incorporates her wealth of experience including managing marketing, communications and customer experience in the NFP,  local government, health, professional services, media and retail sectors.

Annabel’s qualifications include:

  • Bachelor of Management, Marketing, University of South Australia, 2000.
  • Master of Business Administration, International Graduate School of Business – University of South Australia, 2015.
  • Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), 2016.
  • Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Executive Team

Leigh Garrett – CEO
B.Ed.; Grad Dip OHSW Management; MBA; FAIM; FAICD

leighLeigh Garrett is the Chief Executive Officer of OARS Community Transitions and CEO of the Centre for Restorative Justice.

Leigh commenced work with OARS SA in January 1994 and has had extensive experience in the criminal justice arena. (OARS merged with Community Transitions in July 2023, and is also known as OARS Community Transitions). As well as his leadership role with us, he has been a member of the Correctional Services Ministerial Advisory Council, President and Executive Member of the SA Crime Prevention Council, CEO of the SA Centre for Restorative Justice and a Board member and Life Member of SACOSS. He was also previously a Member of the Minister’s Strategic Housing Advisory Committee, advising the Hon Jennifer Rankine MP on matters relating to housing and homelessness in South Australia.  During his work at OARS CT, Leigh was honoured to receive a National Award as Not-For-Profit CEO of the Year in 2002.

Leigh has a degree in Education, a Post Graduate degree in Occupational Health & Safety Management and a Master of Business Administration degree from the International Graduate School of Management, University of SA.  Leigh is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and a Certified Practicing Manager.   He has also been awarded Fellowship status with the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  Leigh is a Life Member of SACOSS, and is currently Chair of the Board of Unity Housing Company.  He also serves on the Board of Venture Housing (NT).

Leigh has previously worked in the Department for Correctional Services as Chief Management Analyst, responsible for the systematic review, planning and evaluation of the Department’s services. This period was preceded by various roles managing research projects in the Department for Correctional Services. He has also worked in the Dept of Recreation and Sport and Dept of Road Transport.

His professional career began at Minda Inc where he was responsible for the development of Physical Education and Leisure Services for people with intellectual disabilities.  He was a pioneer in the development of leisure services and developmental physical education for people with intellectual disabilities in Australia.

Louise Kelly – Deputy CEO and Head of National Services & Development)
BJusSoc; Cert Criminology & Criminal Justice

Louise was promoted to the position of Deputy CEO and Head of National Services & Development in May 2022.  Louise’s previous roles with OARS CT included General Manager, Rehabilitation Treatment Services (August 2019), after spending some years as Engagement, Development & Innovation Consultant, focusing on our strategic directions and service innovation.  Louise also served as Team Leader and case worker within the Reintegration & Accommodation Services.

Louise has a degree in Justice & Society, and Post Graduate Qualifications in Criminology & Criminal Justice, and Mediation.  Prior to working at OARS, Louise worked in various positions with ‘at-risk’ youth under guardianship of the Minister, in an emergency care setting.

In 2016, Louise was awarded a Churchill Fellowship, and travelled overseas in the latter half of 2017 to research initiatives for reducing recidivism of (ex)offenders through supported reintegration and rehabilitation.

Tracy Chapman, General Manager Client Reintegration Services

Tracy joined OARS in 1997 as a volunteer, and was employed in 2003 as a Case Manager in the Freshstart Services Personal Support Program, before completing a Diploma in Community Services (Financial Counselling).  During the same period, Tracy was undertaking Post Release Case Management and Financial Counselling including outreach to Community Corrections Offices at Edwardstown and Elizabeth, after having progressed to a Team Leader and site supervisor of the Christies Beach office.

In 2010 Tracy commenced a position with Uniting Care Wesley Bowden (Inner Southern Homelessness Service) after the Post Release funding from the Department of Corrections Services ceased.

Tracy returned to OARS as a Team Leader Reintegration Services (formerly Supportive Accommodation Services) in 2011 prior to progressing to Manager Reintegration Services in 2016.  In 2019 Tracy was appointed to the position of General Manager Reintegration Services overseeing Ex Custodial Homelessness Services and the Home Detention Integrated Support Service Program (HISSP) .

Tricia Oats, General Manager Client Treatment Services

Tricia commenced employment with OARS CT in June 2003.

In recent years, Tricia has provided excellent leadership and management of the Rehabilitation Treatment Team and practical and strategic insights into services and how we can better serve the community in the future.

In an organisational restructure in January 2023, due to growth and development, Tricia’s experience and contribution was acknowledged as she took on role of General Manager Client Treatment Services and became a member of the Executive Team. This will strengthen the organisation to respond to opportunities as they arise.

Deb Black, Manager Restorative Services

The Centre for Restorative Justice (CRJ) is a division of OARS Community Transitions.   Deb Black is our Manager Restorative Services and has implemented many of our RJ training sessions in schools. Deb joined the Executive Committee in 2021.

Deb has had broad ranging commercial mediation experience across Industrial relations, Leadership development, Innovation and strategy, Risk management and Conflict resolution and Coaching.

Deb is a Resolution Institute (LEADR/IAMA) nationally accredited Mediator and has a Bachelor of Social Science – Majoring in Human Services – UniSA; Grad Cert in Mediation – UniSA; Diploma of Vocational Education and Training – TafeSA; Diploma Professional Counselling – AIPC; VARJ (Victorian Association of Restorative Justice) – Conflict Transformation through Group Conferencing.

Shonnie Pascoe – Chief Financial Officer,  B Com (Accounting); Grad Dip Chartered Accounting; CA

Shonnie Pascoe commenced with OARS in April 2017, working part time and heading up the finance team.

Shonnie worked in a small accounting firm and then KPMG before moving into the commercial sector. Her previous roles have been in retail, property and the not-for-profit sector.

Shonnie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce and a Graduate Diploma in Chartered Accounting. She is a Member of Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand.



History of OARS SA


Early History of OARS SA

Romantic Beginnings chronicles the first 30 years of the Prisoners Aid Association now known as OARS CT.

Seven men composed the Committee of Management up to the formalisation of the Prisoners Aid association (P.A.A.) in 1886. David Nock MP and Visiting Justice, James Scott JP, William Burford, Charles Birks, G.C. Knight JP (first Honorary Treasurer), George Crase (first Honorary Secretary) and W. J. Sowden. Four of these seven founders formed the new committee: Scott, Birks, Knight and Crase.

All seven founders were at some time active members of the Adelaide Benevolent and Strangers and Friends Society (A.B.& S.F.S.) and previously Crase had served it as both Secretary and Collector. When they needed additional help they turned to A.B.& S.F.S’s then current Collector Mr A Fance. Over the next few years several new committee men joined the P.A.A., most of whom (like JB Hack, R Knowles, and MH Madge) were members of the A.B & S.F.S.

Although Adelaide’s women were also active philanthropic workers, it was not until the 1880’s that a significant number of them, including Miss CH Spence, became not only members, but active members of the A.B & S.F.S. and the S.F. & C.O.. Male pressure may have kept them out of the societies until the 1880’s, however none of them are mentioned in regard to the P.A.A.. The most likely explanation is obvious, working with prisoners was not thought to be fit work for women.

Click here to read Romantic Beginnings

National Redress Scheme

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the national Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2012. Following the conclusions of that Royal Commission, and as a response to it, the National Redress Scheme was set up and is managed by the Commonwealth Government.   The Scheme started on 1st July 2018 and will run for 10 years.

The National Redress Scheme :

  • acknowledges that many children were sexually abused in Australian institutions,
  • holds institutions accountable for this abuse, and
  • helps people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse gain access to counselling, a direct personal response, and a Redress payment.

As an organisation which supports and delivers restorative justice programs that provide a voice for victims, OARS is completely supportive of the Royal Commission’s findings and recommendations, and the National Redress Scheme itself.  OARS recognises how important it is for victims to be able to voice their concerns, have access to support, and utilise processes that assist in repairing the harms they have experienced.

Recently Offenders Aid & Rehabilitation Services of SA Inc (OARS) received a letter from the National Redress Scheme indicating that one or more people had registered with it as a victim of historical child sexual abuse and had named OARS within their complaint.   OARS was not named in the Royal Commission.

OARS has joined the National Redress Scheme.

To Make a Claim

If you wish to make a claim with the National Redress Scheme about OARS please make contact with the National Redress Scheme via their website www.nationalredress.gov.au or by calling the free National Redress Information Line – 1800 737 377 – Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm local time (excluding public holidays).