As the Chief Executive Officer of Sisters Inside, Debbie is a tireless advocate for the rights and interests of women and actively works to end violence and dismantle the prison industry. Debbie has spearheaded numerous ground-breaking programs to break the cycle of imprisonment. Debbie uses her position to empower criminalised women and girls to have their voices, interests and priorities heard. Debbie is passionate about supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls to become leaders.
After her release from prison in 1992, Debbie Kilroy established Sisters Inside to fight for the human rights of women in prison and to address gaps in services available to women and their children. Since then, Debbie has completed tertiary qualifications in social work, forensic mental health and law. Debbie is the first and only former prisoner to be admitted as a legal practitioner in Queensland.
Debbie was awarded the Order of Australia in 2003 for her work with criminalised and imprisoned women and girls and the Australian Human Rights Award in 2004. Debbie was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2013 and was an Australian of the Year Finalist for Queensland in 2016. Debbie is currently a member of the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council and sits on various committees relating to law and social matters.