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Improving mental health outcomes for Indigenous Australians in the criminal justice system

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are over-represented in the criminal justice system, and mental health conditions and self-harm are relatively common. Few programs focus on improving mental health or suicide outcomes for those in contact with the criminal justice system.  Adopting an Indigenous perspective of health and wellbeing is essential for improving mental health outcomes. Culturally relevant programs are successful at engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders: preventative programs incorporating cultural activities can keep young people out of the criminal justice system. It is difficult to measure progress because the few programs that seek to improve the mental health of this particular population tend to measure the process but not the outcome of the intervention or program.