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. She is a Churchill Fellow, and completed her report in 2020 on strategies for national agencies to improve state prison mental health systems and services.
Louise works for the Western Australian Department of Justice, working on justice health reform projects. She is a lawyer who previously practised in criminal law, worked for seven years commissioning prison mental health services and developing forensic policy in the Western Australian Mental Health Commission, and also worked for Australian Red Cross monitoring conditions in immigration detention centres. 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 board member of HepatitisWA.