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Winnunga prison health study

This project was initiated by the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service (WNAHS) in response to the construction of the ACT’s first prison, the Alexander Maconochie Correctional Centre, which was due for completion and to receive its first inmates in 2008. Through its current work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inmates at Goulburn and Cooma prisons in NSW, and the Belconnen Remand Centre and Quamby Youth Detention Centre in the ACT, WNAHS recognised the ACT prison opening as an opportunity to improve the appropriateness and effectiveness of health care delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inmates of custodial institutions.

The aim of this project was to develop a best practice model for the delivery of a holistic health care service to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inmates of the Alexander Maconochie Correctional Centre and to their families. WNAHS wanted to have this model implemented in the ACT, and further to provide a solid basis to better inform health care practices for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inmates, their families, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health service providers in the wider custodial environment throughout Australia.

This project formally concluded in August 2007 with the official launch by the ACT Chief Minister of the final main report, community report, and a brochure at WNAHS in Canberra. Outcomes include:

The five recommendations from the study relate to:

  1. Incorporation of the Winnunga Holistic Health Care Prison Model (WHHCPM) into the ACT Health prison services delivered at the Alexander Maconochie Centre;
  2. The establishment of a prisoner health communication network between Winnunga and other Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations;
  3. The establishment of a monitoring and evaluation program for the implementation of the WHHCPM – assessing process, impact, and outcomes of the model;
  4. Transference of this new knowledge and understanding by the CRCAH to the health and justice systems in other jurisdictions throughout Australia; and
  5. Further studies be undertaken to help overcome the current lack of an evidence base for Aboriginal prison-related issues in the ACT and Australia.

The project milestones included:

Related resources:
Project leader

Jodie Fisher & Graham Henderson



Administering institution:

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service