Dress for Success Prison Program – the Welcome Back(pack) Initiative

In 2019 Dress for Success, with the assistance of funding from the Department of Justice, launched the Welcome Back(pack) Program.

The program was established to address a clear need from the women re-entering the community who disclosed that many of them were leaving with what limited belongings they did have, enclosed in a plastic bag.

The program provides all women with a bag filled with basic clothing, including underwear, socks and shoes and a toiletries pack to get them started on their return to the community. This introduces this group of women to Dress for Success in the hope they will access our broad range of services when they are ready to re-engage with employment opportunities.

2022/23 saw our Welcome Backpack initiative develop even further with interactive focus groups held in the Mary Hutchinson Women’s Prison to identify improvements to our offering to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of women transitioning from prison back into the community.


“Having my personal belongings inside a backpack instead of a garbage bag means that I can keep a bit of my dignity and walk out with my head held high. It also feels good to walk out owning something for myself.”

Welcome Backpack recipient

“I feel like I wont look out of place now.”

Welcome Backpack recipient

“I’m so overwhelmed I now have new clothes / toiletries / shoes etc. Plus a backpack to carry my personals from jail in. Thank you ever so much for the people that put this pack together, I feel like a new lady.”

Welcome Backpack recipient

This program allows Dress for Success Tasmania to provide a bag of essential items to women exisitng Mary Hutchinson Prison, directly contributing to enhancing the self-perception for women transitioning from prison in the short-term.

3P Advisory – Program Evaluation Report

Welcome Back(pack) Program Goals and Objectives 

1. Target population: Women exiting Tasmania’s Mary Hutchinson Women’s Prison

2. Addressing Barriers to Employment: The primary goal of the “Welcome Back(pack)” program is to address barriers to employment faced by women transitioning from prison to their communities. The program aims to provide sustainable solutions that enhance women’s participation in the workforce by offering comprehensive support and resources tailored to their unique need.

3. Fostering Self-Worth and Confidence: In addition to facilitating employment opportunities, the program recognises the importance of emotional well-being in successful reintegration. It seeks to foster a heightened sense of self-worth and confidence among women, empowering them to embrace their journey of reintegration with optimism and a positive outlook on their future.

4. Collaboration and Targeted Support: The program collaborates with various government and non-government organisations, strategically positioning itself as a valuable addition to existing employment services and initiatives. Beyond complementing existing support systems, the program’s unique approach offers additional benefits and outcomes that stand alone, enhancing the support available to women upon release.

5. Supporting Women Exiting MHWP: The program focuses on providing support to women leaving theMary Hutchinson Women’s Prison.