Reports and publications (published elsewhere)

2015 AMA report card on Indigenous health: treating the high rates of imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a symptom of the health gap: an integrated approach to both

Posted on: 21 December, 2015
Issue: Vol 15 No 4, October 2015 – December 2015
Related to Closing the gap Social and emotional wellbeing Policies Offender health

Australian Medical Association (2015)
2015 AMA report card on Indigenous health: treating the high rates of imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a symptom of the health gap: an integrated approach to both
Canberra: Australian Medical Association

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) released its 2015 report card which focuses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment. The AMA describes the significant gaps in imprisonment rates between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous populations in Australia, and considers the ‘imprisonment gap’ a symptom of the health gap experienced by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. The report focuses on a number of health issues (including mental health conditions, alcohol and other drug use, substance abuse disorders, and cognitive disabilities) as among the most significant drivers of the increased imprisonment rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The report suggests targeting these health issues as a part of an integrated approach to reduce imprisonment rates. This report card examines how the health system and prison health systems continue to be generally unable to appropriately respond to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners.

The AMA recommends:

  • setting a national target for closing the gap in the rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment
  • adopting a justice reinvestment approach to fund services that will divert Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from prison
  • developing service models to support the expansion of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHOs) and other services as part of an integrated approach to improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the community (including responding to mental health conditions, substance use disorders and cognitive disabilities based on need) and as a preventative measure to reduce imprisonment rates.
  • in partnership with ACCHOs, prison health services, and other services as appropriate, developing a model of health care that integrates ACCHOs, prison health services, and other services to deliver an integrated approach to service provision that aims to improve health and reduce imprisonment rates at the same time
  • employing Aboriginal Health Workers and Indigenous health professionals in prison health services to support them to deliver a culturally competent health service.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

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