About OARS

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.

OARS Board

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

Chair Annabel Shinkfield
Deputy Chair Robin English
Member Christopher O'Grady
Member Gregory Pattinson
Member Peter May
Chief Executive Officer Leigh Garrett

The OARS SA Constitution indicates that:

“The Board shall arrange and control all the affairs of the Association except for matters which under the Constitution must be dealt with at a General Meeting.”



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 Senior Manager at Australians Together and Principal 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.
  • Member 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 Centre for Restorative Justice.

Leigh commenced work with OARS SA in January 1994 and has had extensive experience in the criminal justice arena. As well as his leadership role with OARS SA, 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 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, 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 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 Social Impact Investment Network SA (SIINSA) and the Board of SA Network of Drug & Alcohol Services (SANDAS).

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.

Dot Stagg – General Manager Services

Dot Stagg commenced with OARS CT in March 1994. Dot was the Coordinator of the Christies Beach office for 13 years before becoming the Regional Coordinator. In 2008 Dot moved into a managerial role for Post Release Services and in 2016 became the General Manager Services.

Dot has extensive experience in Counselling, Drug and Alcohol Intervention, Case Management and Supervision. Dot has a Diploma in Grief & Loss and Bereavement Counselling, Certificate in Grief Management Part 1 & 2 from Alfred James Training Centre, Diploma in Advanced Counselling in Narrative Therapy, Certificate 4 in Drug & Alcohol Studies and Certificate in Management from the South Australian Government Training and Skills Commission.

Dot’s responsibilities include all OARS CT services to clients, both Pre and Post Release, within the metropolitan, regional and rural areas of South Australia.

Shonnie Pascoe – Senior Financial Accountant,  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.

Louise Kelly – Engagement, Development & Innovation Consultant
BJusSoc; Cert Criminology & Criminal Justice

Louise Kelly is the Engagement, Development & Innovation Consultant at OARS CT.  Having worked at OARS CT for the past 7 years as a case worker and then Team Leader within the Reintegration & Accommodation Services, Louise has moved to a senior role focusing on our strategic directions and service innovation.

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.

Vicky Whiteway – Human Resources Consultant

Vicky Whiteway commenced work with OARS in May 2017.  Vicky brings a wealth of experience to us, having previously worked as a HR Manager in the NGO sector.

Vicky ‘s expertise has enhanced the Executive Team, as it is the first time we have had internal HR capability.


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