Louise Southalan has a background in law and policy. Her passion is finding ways to enable good evidence to usefully assist decision makers in justice systems, and on seeking to improve the health and wellbeing of people involved in detention settings. Within the Justice Health Unit Louise is engaged in several national and international projects to strengthen the evidence base and promote evidence-based decision making on health issues in prison and detention settings.
Louise also works for the Australian Red Cross monitoring humanitarian issues in immigration detention centres. She is a lawyer who previously practised in criminal law, and also worked for seven years commissioning prison mental health services and developing forensic policy in the Western Australian Mental Health Commission. She is a steering committee member of WEPHREN, the Worldwide Prison Health Research and Engagement Network. She holds a law degree and masters degrees in International Development and in Mental Health Policy and Services, and she is a 2018 Churchill Fellow, focusing on identifying strategies for national agencies to improve state prison mental health systems and services.