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Australia has one of the highest (if not the highest) Indigenous incarceration rates in the OECD which impacts profoundly on Indigenous communities. With offender populations known to endure a greater health burden compared with the general community, there is a need to develop knowledge in this area, particularly in relation to Indigenous incarceration.
The development of this web resource is part of a wider endeavour to create an Australia-wide network for sharing knowledge in this field so as to increase the knowledge and understanding on how to improve approaches to addressing the health needs (physical and mental) of Indigenous people who come into contact with the criminal justice system. This includes adults and juveniles being held in prisons and other detention centres, but also Indigenous adults and juveniles on community service orders, on parole, and those who have been release from prisoners and detention centres.
Improving health services in prison is a high priority, as it is an excellent opportunity to address the physical and mental health needs of Indigenous people, given the over-representation of Indigenous people in prisons and juvenile detention centres. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure that those being released from prisons, and those being diverted by the courts to community service and/or drug and alcohol programs, receive a high standard of health care services and programs designed to prevent their re-offending.
Achieving these objectives will not only benefit Indigenous offenders by improving their health and wellbeing, but will do so for the families and communities to which they belong.
This web resource aims to provide access to good quality information and resources for people involved in doing research, teaching and developing interventions in this area. It will include: reviews; guidelines; resources; programs, projects and lessons; policies and strategies; publications; and links. The web resource also includes information about research activity, funding opportunities, organisations, agencies and individuals working in the field, news and events and training programs.
Development of this web resource has been made possible as a result of funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for building research capacity in the area of Indigenous offender health. The NHMRC provided funding for a five year program which brings together a team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers to work on projects in areas critical to the health and wellbeing of Indigenous offenders. This includes quantitative and qualitative research in the areas of mental health, substance use, blood borne viruses, impact of incarceration on Indigenous communities, juvenile offender health, models of care for Indigenous offenders and developing prison health indicators. The web resource will be used to disseminate research findings as they emerge, and facilitate networking between researchers, educators, and those working in the relevant applied areas.
Development of this web resource is guided by the Indigenous Offender Health Research - Capacity Building Group (IOHR-CBG), which is made up of researchers at a number of institutions across Australia.
The members of the IOHR-CBG meet twice yearly and among other matters discuss:
More information about the Capacity Building Group is available on this page: Indigenous Offender Health Research - Capacity Building Group.