Additional Reference Information on Corrections
 

 

 

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Mental Health and Prisons

 

Restorative Justice

 

Indigenous people and the prison

 

ACT Government

 Correction

 

Office for Children,   

Youth and Family Support

 

Health

 

ACT Human Rights Commission

 

ACT Human Rights Commission

 

ACT Legislative Assembly

 

ACT Community Coalition on Corrections

 

Australian Institute of Criminology

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics

 

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service

 

International Centre for Prison Studies

 

National Institute of Corrections, Information Center of the U.S. Department of Justice

 

Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies

 

 

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02-Mar-2011

 

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References to Information on Corrections

Mental Health and Prisons

 

Senate, Select Committee on Mental Health, A national approach to mental health: from crisis to community, First report (March 2006).

This very important Senate report has a broad focus on the many problems associated with how mental health is handled in Australia. Of particular relevance are chapter 13 on mental health and the criminal justice system and chapter 14 on dual diagnosis as ’the expectation not the exception’.

 

ACT Community Coalition on Corrections, Healthy or harmful? Mental health and the operational regime of the new ACT prison (ACT Community Coalition on Corrections, Canberra, April 2008).

This study makes the point that mental health requires an operational regime that does not impose unhealthy stresses on those detained. Such stress aggravate and even cause mental illness of those detained. Mental health is, thus, not achieved in prisons simply by providing good mental health treatment. Stresses common in the traditional prison system include long periods of seclusion, strip searching, boredom and lack of family and other support. Nor is it sufficient to attend to the conditions in the prison. The capacity of people with mental health problems must be strengthened to enable them to resume their place in the community. The need for this is reflected in the very high rates of death by suicide and overdose in the weeks following release.
Visit their site here.

 

Mental Health Council of Australia, Not For Service: Experiences of Injustice and Despair in Mental Health Care in Australia. A report of the consultations by the Mental Health Council of Australia and the Brain and Mind Research Institute in association with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (Mental Health Council of Australia, Canberra, 2005).

Like the Senate report, this report has a lot to say on the experience of people with a mental illnesses in the criminal justice system including prison. It includes Australia wide testimony of many mental health consumers and carers.

 

Restorative Justice

Restorative justice is a broad term that includes any practices that seek to heal the impact of offending and make things right for victims, offenders and their respective communities.

 

Peter Norden SJ, Restorative justice: A new vision for criminal justice.

“Australians generally need to make a cultural shift from an ideology that mistakenly thinks of imprisonment as a simple solution to many of the complex social problems confronting our society today: problems such as homelessness, family breakdown, child and sexual abuse, unemployment, intellectual disability, alcohol and drug addiction, and mental illness, all of which significantly underlie much individual criminal activity.”

Mark Griffiths, Strategies to promote the social movement of restorative justice in corrections

Indigenous people and the prison
Indigenous people are scandalously over represented in Australian prisons including the ACT criminal justice system and things have got worse since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

ACTCOSS and the ACT Aboriginal Justice Centre, Circles of Support: towards indigenous justice: prevention, diversion & rehabilitation (July 2008).
This is part of a project to stimulate a re-conceptualisation of crime prevention as social support, with a particular focus on early intervention. The project aims to engage with the reasons for Indigenous over-representation in the justice system, identify existing mainstream and Indigenous crime prevention and diversion
initiatives in the ACT, highlight gaps in service provision and areas of unmet need and make recommendations for change.

Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1991) reports are still very relevant today.


ACT Government

Corrections

There is much material about the new prison (the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC)) in the publications section of the ACT Corrections website. This includes the statement of the Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, to the Legislative Assembly in August 2004 set out the Government’s objectives for the prison. This is reproduced at the back of the Communication Plan April 2007.

 

Office for Children, Youth and Family Support

The Office for Children, Youth and Family Support of the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services is responsible for youth detention. The ACT is building a new youth detention centre as well as a new adult prison:

 

Health

Overwhelmingly, those sent to present have mental health and other health problem. The Department of Health is has responsibility for the provision of health services within adult and juvenile detention centres. The plans for the delivery of these services are available here and here.

 

ACT Human Rights Commission

The Commission carried out a Human Rights Audit of Quamby Youth Detention Centre. This the  Government’s response of August 2005 to that report.

The Human Rights Audit on the Operation of ACT Correctional Facilities under Corrections Legislation July 2007

 

ACT Legislative Assembly

Standing Committee on Community Services and Social Equity

One-way roads out of Quamby: Transition options for young people exiting juvenile detention in the ACT

The forgotten victims of crime: families of offenders and their silent sentence June 2004 report.

 

ACT Community Coalition on Corrections

The ACT Community Coalition on Corrections is a coalition of organisations and individuals that have an interest in corrections and particularly in the new ACT prison (the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC)), its operation and its performance. Its website  includes submissions to and correspondence with government and links to other web sites.

 

Australian Institute of Criminology

This website contains a lot of material on offending and corrections. Examples include:

Australian Bureau of Statistics

The Bureau of Statistics publishes regular reports of numbers and imprisonment rates around Australia at their webpage on the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics.

 

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service

Provides best practice and holistic health services particularly to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Canberra and the region. It published an important report in June 2007 in a best practice model of holistic health service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inmates of the ACT prison 

 

International Centre for Prison Studies

The website of the International Centre for Prison Studies at King’s College, London contains a wealth of challenging material including the following:

Does custodial sentencing work?
Lecture on 21 December 2006 by Professor Andrew Coyle, Professor of Prison Studies, School of Law, King’s College, University of London at a conference on Alternatives to Prison held at the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In the course of this he argued that unless society decided otherwise, 400,000 people could end up in prison in England and Wales and 35,000 in Scotland.

Excessive Use of Imprisonment Does Nothing to Improve Public Safety
Lecture by the director of the International Centre for Prison Research, Rob Allen on 18th June 2007.

The reason for a “commitment to a sparing use of prison lies in the substantial financial, social and ethical costs involved in locking up increasing proportions of the population. What is true all over the world is that people in prison are not representative of society as a whole. They are disproportionately drawn from certain poor neighbourhoods where a range of social, health and community problems are concentrated. This reflects in part the fact that people who are economically and socially marginalised are at greatest risk of being drawn into criminal behaviour and in part the way the police and other law enforcement agencies tend to concentrate their efforts on these areas.”

He mentions a ten point plan for criminal justice reform. “The first point is to develop Restorative Justice (RJ). RJ – particularly restorative conferencing – involves victims and offenders meeting face-to-face in the presence of a facilitator. Recent evaluations have shown that restorative conferences and victim/offender meetings bring real and tangible benefits to victims: less anger and anxiety, less Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and lower health costs.”

 

National Institute of Corrections, Information Center of the U.S. Department of Justice

Provision of mental health care in prisons (February 2001)

This is a study of the extent to which corrections agencies in the United States acknowledge the needs of, and provide for mental health care for, not only their acutely or severely mental ill inmates, but also those with lower level disturbance.

“It is evident that most U.S. prison populations include significant numbers of inmates who enter the system with mental health needs. Some of these inmates must be housed and cared for separately for short or long periods, while others function acceptably in the general population. An inmate’s previously recognized mental health issues may be exacerbated in the stressful environment of the prison, or an inmate may first be diagnosed with a mental health problem while incarcerated.”

 

Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies

The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) ( is a federation of twenty-three autonomous societies. All local societies are community-based groups dedicated to the provision of programs and services with and for women and girls involved in the criminal justice system.

 

 

Some general Australian statistics:

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information Resource Booklet

All of the above information contained on this page can be downloaded as a small booklet for subsequent distribution.

 

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