Treating co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness among Indigenous people released from prison will increase life expectancy, reduce incarceration, and contribute to Closing the Gap

November 2022

Dr Jocelyn Jones

Other Collaborators: 

Dr Stuart A Kinner (Curtin University), Dr David B Preen (UWA), Dr Jesse T Young (University of Melbourne), Edward Heffernan (Queensland Forensic Mental Health Service, Queensland Health) and Louise Southalan (Wungening Aboriginal Corporation)

Project description: 

This project involves secondary analysis of globally unique data from the Health After Release from Prison (HARP) cohort study, a multi-jurisdictional, prospective cohort study that includes 1,000 Indigenous women and men who will be followed, through linked health and correctional records, for more than seven years after release from prisons in Queensland and Western Australia.

Funded by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s Indigenous Justice Research Program, it aims to:

  • estimate prevalence of substance use disorder, mental illness, and dual diagnosis among incarcerated Indigenous people
  • identify risk and protective factors for reincarceration among Indigenous people released from prison, with a focus on the impact of dual diagnosis and associated service system contacts, and
  • harness the expertise of Indigenous people with lived experience of incarceration, to facilitate interpretation and inform translation of our findings into policy and practice.

Data analysis will be guided and supported by consultations and focus groups with Elders and Indigenous people who have lived experience of incarceration.