16th Reintegration Puzzle Conference

Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
1-3 June 2022

Changing Seasons,
Changing Lives

Assessing the Disability Needs of Indigenous Prisoners (ADNIP): Insights from an Australia-wide research project

Background: It is well documented that First Peoples in are over-represented in disability and prisoner populations. Disabling conditions that often remain unidentified such as intellectual disability, hearing impairment, mental illness, acquired brain injury, and other cognitive impairments are high in the Australian criminal justice system. However, the methods and processes to identify disability in First Peoples prisoners, and link people to supports in prison and post-release are unclear. The current project examined how disability is identified and responded to in adult First Peoples prisoners and people who have exited the prison system, and sought to understand the priority solutions and preferred practices from the perspective of First Peoples community members and sector stakeholders.
Method: The project included three main stages of data collection and analysis
• Literature Review: Synthesis and evaluation of current tools and processes for identification of disability and linkages to support services.
• Jurisdictional Fieldwork: Interviews with corrections staff across Australia to map current processes and practices, challenges and barriers, levers for change, and targets for improvement.
• Community Consultation: structured focus group with First Peoples community members. Sector stakeholders were consulted to articulate the ways the solutions arising from the community consultations can be enacted systemically.
Results & Conclusions: Process maps were generated from the results of the jurisdictional fieldwork study which highlight current processes, practices and barriers. Priority solutions and preferred practices arising from the community consultations community will be reported, and concomitant recommendations for policy and service reform will be discussed.

Presenters

Michelle McIntyre
Senior Research Fellow
, Synapse Australia/ Griffith University

Dr Michelle McIntyre is a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at Synapse and an Adjunct Research Fellow at Griffith University. Over the last ten years, Dr McIntyre has been involved in research across a variety of areas disability and rehabilitation, health care complexity, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and the court system. She is currently working with the Murri Court which allows Elders and respected community members to support Aboriginal people during criminal trials.

Vere Lambert-Morris
Senior Research Assistant
, Synapse/ Griffith University

Vere Lambert-Morris is a PhD candidate at the Vere Lambert-Morris, Synapse Australia. Vere is a PhD candidate at the Griffith School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. His background is in Youth Justice and Child protection and he is currently researching vulnerable youth in care and their perceptions of police fairness. He is familiar with prison environments and with the work of Corrective Services personnel. He has been a training consultant for police and welfare workers. His background is in Youth Justice and Child protection and he is currently researching vulnerable youth in care and their perceptions of police fairness. He is familiar with prison environments and with the work of Corrective Services personnel. He has been a training consultant for police and welfare workers.

Elizabeth Kendall
Professor
, The Hopkins Centre, Griffith University

Professor Elizabeth Kendall, Director The Hopkins Centre and Program Director, Disability & Rehabilitation, Menzies Health Institute, Griffith University. Elizabeth has led complex community-based initiatives and randomized controlled trials in the area of disability and rehabilitation for the last 30 years, including in Aboriginal communities. Her children are descendants of the Wadja people.

Jennifer Cullen
Chief Executive Officer
, Synapse, Australia

Adjunct Associate Professor Jennifer Cullen, Chief Executive Officer of Synapse. Jennifer has over 27 years’ experience working in disability and aged care services, including working with prisoners and ex-prisoners with complex disability. Jennifer is a descendant of the Wakka Wakka and Bidjara people.

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