Justice Health Unit publishes Pursuit article on mental health in prisons during the pandemic

Lindsay Pearce, Research Fellow, has recently led the publication of a Pursuit article titled People in prison still in COVID-19 lockdown.

The article explains that ongoing lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions in detention settings (inclusive of adult prisons, youth detention, immigration detention, and forensic psychiatric facilities) have detrimental impacts on the more than 40,000 people detained in Australia, many of whom already experience mental illness, suicidality, and self-harm.

Drawing from a global review of guidance for responding to COVID-19 in these settings, conducted by the Justice Health Unit, the article points to things that we can and must be doing to uphold the broader social, emotional, and mental health of people in custody.

The authors point to the fact that there is currently limited health data collection, public disclosure, evaluation, and involvement of people with lived experience pertaining to the ongoing COVID-19 response in these settings. This information is essential to ensure accountability towards the mental health of people in custody during the pandemic.

The article was co-authored by Prof Stuart Kinner, A/Prof Rohan Borschmann, Dr Lucas Calais Ferreira, and Dr Jesse Young of the Justice Health Unit, and A/Prof James Foulds of the University of Otago (New Zealand).

The article is available here.