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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Mental health

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Commission for Children and Young People (2017)

The same four walls: Inquiry into the use of isolation, separation and lockdowns in the Victorian youth justice system.

Victoria: Commission for Children and Young People

Ogloff JRP, Pfeifer JE, Shepherd SM, Ciorciari J (2017)

Assessing the mental health, substance abuse, cognitive functioning, and social/emotional well-being needs of Aboriginal prisoners in Australia.

Journal of Correctional Health Care; Online First( 1-14

Shepherd SM, Ogloff J RP, Shea D, Pfeifer JE, Paradies Y (2017)

Aboriginal prisoners and cognitive impairment: the impact of dual disadvantage on social and emotional wellbeing.

Journal of Intellectual Disability Research; Early view(


Baldry E, McCausland R, Dowse L, McEntyre E, MacGillivray P (2016)

'It's just a big vicious cycle that swallows them up': Indigenous people with mental and cognitive disabilities in the criminal justice system.

Indigenous Law Bulletin; 8(22): 10-16

Borschmann R, Thomas E, Moran P, Carroll M, Heffernan E, Spittal MJ, Sutherland G, Alati R, Kinner SA (2016)

Self-harm following release from prison: a prospective data linkage study.

Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry; Online before print(

Cooter EV (2016)

'Neurodiversion': incorporating frontal lobe rehabilitation treatment for impulse-control management in the rehabilitation of criminal offenders in Australia.

Doctor of Philosophy thesis, Bond University: Robina, Qld

Heffernan E (2016)

The mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in custody.

Doctor of Philosophy thesis, The University of Queensland: Brisbane

Keyzer P, O'Donovan D (2016)

Imprisonment of indigenous people with cognitive impairment: what do professional stakeholders think? What might human rights-compliant legislation look like?.

Indigenous Law Bulletin; 8(22): 17-20

Malvaso C, Day A, Casey S, Corrado R (2016)

Young offenders, maltreatment, and trauma: a pilot study.

Psychiatry, Psychology and Law; Latest articles(

Shepherd SM, Phillips G (2016)

Cultural 'inclusion' or institutional decolonisation: how should prisons address the mental health needs of Indigenous prisoners?.

Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry; 50(4): 307-308

Watt BD, O'Leary J, O'Toole S (2016)

Juvenile fitness for trial: lawyer and youth justice officer professional survey.

Psychiatry, Psychology and Law; Latest articles(

Willis M, Baker A, Cussen T, Patterson E (2016)

Self-inflicted deaths in Australian prisons.

Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology


Bhandari A, van Dooren K, Eastgate G, Lennox N, Kinner SA (2015)

Comparison of social circumstances, substance use and substance-related harm in soon-to-be-released prisoners with and without intellectual disability.

Journal of Intellectual Disability Research; 59(6): 571-579

Blagg H, Tulich T, Bush Z (2015)

Placing country at the centre: decolonising justice for Indigenous young people with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).

Australian Indigenous Law Review; 19(2): 4-16

Cunneen C (2015)

Surveillance, stigma, removal: Indigenous child welfare and juvenile justice in the age of neoliberalism.

Australian Indigenous Law Review; 19(1): 32-45

Davidson F (2015)

Mental Health Liaison and Diversion: court liaison services and mental health court programs in Australia.

Sydney: NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Offender Health

Heffernan E, Andersen K, Kinner S, Aboud A, Ober C, Scotney A (2015)

The Family Business: improving the understanding and treatment of post traumatic stress disorder among incarcerated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

Melbourne: beyondblue

This report presents the findings from the Family wellbeing research program. The research examined post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among Aboriginal and Torres Strait women in custody, the extend of PTSD among this population and its impact on the women's mental health and wellbeing. Recommendations for the identification and treatment of PTSD in custodial settings are also presented.

Factors contributing to PTSD for this group of women, included in this report, were:

  • trauma
  • suicide
  • culture
  • transition into community.

The report was produced by the Queensland Forensic Mental Health Service with funding from beyondblue.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Heffernan E, Andersen K, Davidson F, Kinner SA (2015)

PTSD among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in custody in Australia: prevalence and correlates.

Journal of Traumatic Stress; Early View(

Johnston I, Shahid S, Schlumpp A, Wilkins S (2015)

The health of Australia's prisoners 2015.

Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

The health of Australia's prisoners 2015 is the 4th report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on the 'national prison health indicators'. These indicators were developed to help monitor the health of prisoners, and inform and evaluate the planning, delivery, and quality of prison health services across Australia. The report includes information on:

  • prison health services
  • demographic information of prisoners
  • socioeconomic factors of prisoners, including cultural background, detention history, education levels, employment, housing, and family
  • mental health status
  • levels of self-harm
  • health conditions, including communicable diseases, chronic conditions, self-assessed health status, and women's health
  • disability
  • substance use, including tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs.

The report includes substantial coverage of the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners.

Abstract adapted from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Kasinathan J (2015)

Predictors of rapid reincarceration in mentally ill young offenders.

Australasian Psychiatry; 23(5): 550-555

Young JT, van Dooren K, Lennox NG, Butler TG, Kinner SA (2015)

Inter-rater reliability of the Hayes Ability Screening Index in a sample of Australian prisoners.

Journal of Intellectual Disability Research; Early view(


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2014)

Prisoner health services in Australia 2012.

Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Barton JJ (2014)

Characteristics of inmates with a history of suicide attempts and/or deliberate self harm.

Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology) thesis, University of Western Sydney: Penrith, NSW

Cutcher Z, Degenhardt L, Alati R, Kinner SA (2014)

Poor health and social outcomes for ex-prisoners with a history of mental disorder: a longitudinal study.

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health; 38(5): 424–429

Durey A, Wynaden D, Barr L, Ali M (2014)

Improving forensic mental health care for Aboriginal Australians: challenges and opportunities.

International Journal of Mental Health Nursing; 23(3): 195–202

Durey A, Wynaden D, O'Kane M (2014)

Improving forensic mental health care to Indigenous Australians: theorizing the intercultural space.

Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing; 21(4): 296–302

Haswell M, Williams M, Blignault I, Ortega MG, Pulver LJ (2014)

Returning home, back to community from custodial care: learnings from the first year pilot project evaluation of three sites around Australia.

Canberra: Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute

Kelly J (2014)

The intersection of Aboriginal customary law with the NT criminal justice system: the road not taken?.

Moore E, Indig D, Haysom L (2014)

Traumatic brain injury, mental health, substance use, and offending among incarcerated young people.

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation; 29(3): 239-247

Sodhi-Berry N, Preen DB, Alan J, Knuiman M, Morgan VA (2014)

Pre-sentence mental health service use by adult offenders in Western Australia: baseline results from a longitudinal whole-population cohort study.

Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health; 24(3): 204–221

Sodhi-Berry N, Knuiman M, Preen DB, Alan J, Morgan VA (2014)

Predictors of post-sentence mental health service use in a population cohort of first-time adult offenders in Western Australia.

Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health; Early View(

Trofimovs J, Dowse L (2014)

Mental health at the intersections: the impact of complex needs on police contact and custody for Indigenous Australian men.

International Journal of Law and Psychiatry; 37(4): 390–398

Victorian Auditor-General (2014)

Mental health strategies for the justice system.

Melbourne: Victorian Auditor-General


Baldry E, Clarence M, Dowse L, Trollor J (2013)

Reducing vulnerability to harm in adults with cognitive disabilities in the Australian criminal justice system.

Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities; 10(3): 222-229

Dias S, Ware RS, Kinner SA, Lennox NG (2013)

Physical health outcomes in prisoners with intellectual disability: a cross-sectional study.

Journal of Intellectual Disability Research; 57(12): 1191–1196

Dias S, Ware RS, Kinner SA, Lenoxx NG (2013)

Co-occurring mental disorder and intellectual disability in a large sample of Australian prisoners.

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry; 47(10): 938-944

Douglas H, Hammill J, Hall W, Russell E (2013)

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) within the criminal justice sector in Queensland.

Brisbane: Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education

Ferrante AM (2013)

Assessing the influence of "standard" and "culturally specific" risk factors on the prevalence and frequency of offending: the case of Indigenous Australians.

Race and Justice; 3(1): 58-82

Forsythe L (2013)

Measuring mental health in criminology research: lessons from the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia program.

Canberra, ACT: Australian Institute of Criminology

Justice & Forensic Mental Health Network (2013)

Justice & Forensic Mental Health Network: strategic plan 2013 - 2017.

Sydney: Health NSW

MacGillivray P, Baldry E (2013)

Indigenous Australians, mental and cognitive impairment and the criminal justice system: a complex web.

Indigenous Law Bulletin; 8(9): November/December 2013

McCausland R, Baldry E, Johnson S, Cohen A (2013)

People with mental health disorders and cognitive impairment in the criminal justice system : cost-benefit analysis of early support and diversion.

Sydney: Australian Human Rights Commission

Moore E, Gaskin C, Indig D (2013)

Childhood maltreatment and post-traumatic stress disorder among incarcerated young offenders.

Child Abuse & Neglect; 37(10): 861–870

Ober C, Dingle K, Clavarino A, Najman JM, Alati R, Heffernan EB (2013)

Validating a screening tool for mental health and substance use risk in an Indigenous prison population.

Drug and Alcohol Review; 32(6): 611–617

Ogloff JRP, Patterson J, Cutajar M, Adams K, Thomas S, Halacas C (2013)

Koori Prisoner Mental Health and Cognitive Function Study: final report.

Melbourne: Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

Rowley M (2013)

The invisible client: people with cognitive impairments in the Northern Territory’s Court of Summary Jurisdiction.

Alice Springs: Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service

Sowerwine S, Schetzer L (2013)

Sentencing contradictions: difficulties faced by people living with mental illness in contact with the criminal justice system.

Sydney: Public Interest Advocacy Centre

Western Australian Council of Social Service, Western Australian Association for Mental Health, Western Australian Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (2013)

Justice and community safety in Western Australia: a call for efficient investment in effective outcomes.

Perth, WA: Western Australian Council of Social Service

This report outlines offending and justice issues in Western Australia (WA), and recommends a policy shift to 'justice reinvestment', an approach that aims to address the risk factors of crime, crime prevention, and adequate rehabilitation of offenders. This report provides details on:

  • current levels of offending in WA and the economic costs associated with these levels
  • the health and social determinants of offending
  • the role of the community sector
  • barriers to the adoption of a 'justice reinvestment' approach in WA
  • the 'delivering community services in partnership' policy in WA
  • recommendations.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012)

The mental health of prison entrants in Australia: 2010.

Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Edward B Heffernan, Andersen KC, Dev A, Kinner S (2012)

Prevalence of mental illness among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland prisons.

Medical Journal of Australia; 197(1): 37-41

Forsythe L, Gaffney A (2012)

Mental disorder prevalence at the gateway to the criminal justice system.

Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology

Heffernan E, Anderson K, Dev A (2012)

Inside Out: the mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in custody report.

Brisbane: Queensland Health

Justice & Forensic Mental Health Network (2012)

Justice & Forensic Mental Health Network: year in review 2011/12.

Sydney: Health NSW

Larney S, Topp L, Devon Indig, O'Driscoll C, Greenberg D (2012)

A cross-sectional survey of prevalence and correlates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among prisoners in New South Wales, Australia.

BMC Public Health; 12: 14

Retrieved 6 January 2012 from

Law Report (2012)

Indefinite detention and mental impairment in NT [podcast].

: Radio National

This podcast was produced by the Law Report program on Radio National. The topic of the podcast is the criminal justice situation in the Northern Territory, in particular custodial supervision orders, legislation which allows some offenders who have an intellectual or mental impairment to be detained indefinitely in prisons. Mark O'Reilly, the principal legal officer at the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service, is interviewed in this podcast.

Abstract adapted from Radio National

New South Wales Law Reform Commission (2012)

People with cognitive and mental health impairments in the criminal justice system: diversion.

Sydney: New South Wales Law Reform Commission


Aboriginal Disability Justice Campaign (2011)

Aboriginal Disability Justice Campaign statement on the inappropriate incarceration of Aboriginal people with a cognitive impairment.

Sydney: People with Disability

Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (2011)

Social and cultural resilience and emotional well-being of Aboriginal mothers in prison: the SCREAM project.

Paper presented at the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia Annual State Sector Conference. 12-13 April 2011, Hotel Rendezvous, Scarborough, WA

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2011)

The health of Australia's prisoners 2010.

Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Butler T, Indig D, Allnutt S, Mamoon H (2011)

Co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder among Australian prisoners.

Drug and Alcohol Review; 30(March): 188-194

Indig D, Vecchiato C (2011)

Social determinants of health, risk behaviours and mental health among Aboriginal juvenile detainees.

Paper presented at the Coalition for Research to Improve Aboriginal Health Conference. 5-6 May 2011, Doltone House, Sydney

Jones R, Day A (2011)

Mental health, criminal justice and culture: some ways forward?.

Australasian Psychiatry; 19(4): 325-330

Larsen A-C, Milnes P (2011)

A cautionary note on therapeutic jurisprudence for Aboriginal offenders.

eLaw Journal: Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law; 18(1): 1-27

Poroch N, Boyd K, Tongs J, Sharp P, Longford E, Keed S (2011)

We're struggling in here! : the phase 2 study into the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT Alexander Maconochie Centre and the needs of their families.

Narrabundah, A.C.T: Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service

Last updated: 12 October 2017
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