Do programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people leaving prison meet their health and social support needs?
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Australian Journal of Rural Health, 2018, 26 (1), pp. 6 - 13
- Issue Date:
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© 2017 National Rural Health Alliance Inc. The objective of this review was to synthesise evidence on the health and social support needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people leaving prison and on programs which aid successful community re-entry. A systematic literature review was undertaken of peer-reviewed and grey literature published between 2001 and 2013, focusing on the post-release needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and pre- and post-release programs. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have high health and social support needs on leaving prison. There is little literature evidence that re-entry programs commonly consider health needs, support linkages with primary care or Aboriginal Medical Services, or are designed in consideration of the particular needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In the absence of evaluative evidence on re-entry programs in this group, we have synthesised the best practice recommendations. Re-entry programs must be culturally competent in design and delivery, holistic, take a long-term view, involve families and communities, demonstrate interagency coordination and promote linkages between prison and community-based services. There is an urgent need for accessible pre- and post-release programs which meet the particular needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including their health needs. Programs must be flexible, comprehensive and accessible to those on remand or with short sentences. Stronger linkage with primary care and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled health organisations is recommended.
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