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Debbie Kilroy


Debbie Kilroy was imprisoned for drug trafficking in 1989 for six years. She was stabbed and witnessed the only murder inside an Australian women’s prison, and lost almost everything: her marriage, her home and her children. After her release in 1992, Debbie established Sisters Inside to advocate for the rights of women and girls in prison.

Sisters Inside has won international acclaim for its work and for a unique structure which ensures it is driven by women inside prison. As CEO of Sisters Inside, Debbie is a tireless advocate for the interests of criminalised women and girls, and actively works to dismantle the prison industry.

Debbie was the first person in Australian who has serious convictions to be admitted by the Supreme Court of Queensland to practice law in 2007 and, in 2013, opened her own legal practice, alongside Sisters Inside. She has a degree in social work and is a qualified gestalt therapist. Debbie was awarded the OAM for services to the community for working with women in prison 2003 and in 2004 she was awarded the National Human Rights Medal.

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.