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Corrections Victoria: ensuring responsive practices for offenders with complex needs

Jo Famularo (Acquired Brain Injury Clinician at Disability Pathways, Framework Implementation Unit, Offender Management Services, Corrections Victoria, Melbourne, Australia and Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)

Journal of Learning Disabilities and Offending Behaviour

ISSN: 2042-0927

Article publication date: 15 July 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Rather than emphasising the earlier disadvantages that Corrections Victoria (CV) Australia, the world's first acquired brain injury (ABI) program, has experienced, this paper aims to highlight how this clinical position has improved best practice outcomes and solutions for offenders in the Victorian forensic system.

Design/methodology/approach

Over the past three years, CV Australia has made a commitment towards better meeting the needs of offenders with a disability. Specific research has been undertaken to identify the prevalence of acquired brain injury among Victoria's male and female population. This world‐first research for CV by its research partners, arbias Ltd and La Trobe University, has identified new challenges particularly evidence concerning the large‐prisoner cohort with acquired brain injury.

Findings

The acquired brain injury clinician within CV is a new position, an innovative service for prisoners and offenders with an ABI in the North West Metropolitan Region, Melbourne. What has emerged in the first 18 months of the ABI program is the presence of co‐morbidities, including mental health and substance use issues in addition to the prisoner/offender's cognitive impairment. This complex profile confirms the need for a specialist response. The role of the clinician is multi‐functional, including consultation, capacity building, information, education, intervention planning and staff training.

Practical implications

The practical implications of this case study include a treatment plan; however, there are issues with implementing this approach as it requires a long‐term commitment from the correctional services system.

Originality/value

In recent months, a number of strategies have been implemented to better support the prisoners who have cognitive impairment. Success of these strategies can make lasting changes to not only the offenders, but also CV staff. The CV staff noted that while resources (time spent) have been heavily invested in the individual learning, this has been an effective strategy. This case study highlights how CV is responding to the research into prisoners/offenders with an acquired brain injury.

Keywords

Citation

Famularo, J. (2011), "Corrections Victoria: ensuring responsive practices for offenders with complex needs", Journal of Learning Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, Vol. 2 No. 3, pp. 136-139. https://doi.org/10.1108/20420921111186615

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited