How prisoner health affects the community: National Symposium

Where:         Rydges Capital Hill, Cnr Canberra Avenue & National Circuit, Forrest ACT


When:           Wednesday 15 August 2012


Time:             9am – 5:30pm


The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) is holding a one day symposium Justice Health in Australia: Equity in Health Care in Canberra this Wednesday 15 August 2012.


Headline issues to be discussed include: equivalence of health care for prisoners; mental health and wellbeing of prisoners; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoner health; and challenges in the transition from prison back to community.  The event will be attended by around 150 participants including policy makers, community services, researchers, corrective services and health workers, former prisoners and others with a broad range of perspectives on the health of prisoners and related issues.


“Among the hot topics to be discussed at the symposium will be needle and syringe programs in prison and how the effective management of blood-borne viruses and other health-related challenges in prison affects the broader community,” said PHAA Deputy CEO Melanie Walker.


The conference will be formally opened with an address by ACT Minister for Corrections, Dr Chris Bourke MLA at 9am.  Speakers, topics and program highlights include:

•     Dr Helen Watchirs OAM, ACT Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner: Human Rights in Prison

•        Dr Ed Heffernan, Director, Queensland Forensic Mental Health Services: Madness and Musical Chairs: The Mentally Ill in Custody

•        Tammy Solonec, National Board Director, National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoner health

•        Bernadette Mitcherson, Executive Director of ACT Corrective Services: Post –release care planning for prisoners in the ACT

•        The launch of new Australian Medical Association policy paper on Health and the criminal justice system by Prof Geoffrey Dobb, AMA Vice President.

Sponsors of the National Justice Health Symposium include: the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing; and the Centre for Research Excellence into Injecting Drug Use.  The symposium program is available on the PHAA website at: