This project was conducted to provide an independent external assessment of the Lotus Glen Correctional Centre Indigenous Peer Education Program (known as Peer Support). Lotus Glen Correctional Centre is a 500 bed men’s prison located south of Mareeba in north Queensland, with at least half of all inmates being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. The purpose of the evaluation project was to suggest how the Peer Support program could be transferred to other correctional centres in Queensland, based on comprehensive assessment of aims, objectives, outcomes and processes used.

The Peer Support program aims to reduce the spread of blood-borne virus transmissions and other sexually transmitted diseases and, by doing so, to reduce the spread of such infections in the wider community. The Peer Support program also aims to increase the number of Indigenous and non-Indigenous prisoners accessing prison health and support services. Strategies used include formal sessions conducted by Peer Support workers to new prisoners, as well as informal support for individual inmates.

The evaluation aimed to ensure that:

  • The background and context of health and wellbeing of prisoners is well understood
  • The views of people involved in Peer Support were sought
  • All processes utilised in the Peer Support program were systematically documented
  • Benefits already documented in regard to Peer Support were taken into account.

A community report was written and distributed to north Queensland Elders who visit Lotus Glen, and a report was written for Queensland Health and Queensland Corrective Services’ purposes.

The evaluation project involved the collection of data over a five-month period via:

  • Regular interviews with the Peer Support Project Officer
  • Focus group discussions and interviews with peer support workers who were inmates at Lotus Glen Correctional Centre
  • A logbook of resources and processes used throughout the Peer Support project
  • Observational analyses
  • Feedback forms completed by Lotus Glen Correctional Centre staff who had referred to the Peer Support program.

The evaluation design, data collection, analysis and reporting occurred in consultation with experienced Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s health workers.

The research took place between February and December 2007, was funded by Queensland Needle and Syringe Program, Queensland Health Queensland Corrective Services (QCS), and involved the University of Queensland and CRC for Aboriginal Health

Related resources:
  • Williams, M. 2008, Like a Hungry Man Eating a Meal: Evaluation of Lotus Glen Correctional Centre Indigenous Peer Education Program, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
  • Williams, M. 2007, Lotus Glen Correctional Centre Indigenous Peer Education Program Community Feedback Report, University of Queensland, Brisbane. 

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