Aim of Project - “Prevention of mental illness and enhancing the Mental Health of incarcerated persons with disabilities.”


Background  During 2005-2008 Ability Solutions visited prisons several times including Bandyup and Casuarina and the Frankland Centre. An 18 month pilot project was conducted at the Riverbank Detention (now closed) with individuals with an intellectual disability. A three year intensive project was conducted with the Frankland Centre. All these projects produced positive outcomes.

Ability Solutions believes that physical activity, sport and recreation can be the basis of meaningful participation for individuals during imprisonment and the link to their community upon release.


Target Group This project would liaise with three metropolitan prisons including Casuarina, Bandyup, and Frankland Centre. We would support more than 20 staff and offer support to up to fifty incarcerated individuals. This project we believe will contribute to reducing the risk of mental illness and provide positive health strategies for a groups at high risk being incarcerated persons with disabilities. Optional Regional Extension: The inclusion of regional prisons in Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton and Kalgoorlie could be involved in years two and three.


Strategies To gain a current understanding of the system through visit and discussion with stakeholders including identified prisons, Disability Services and Mental Health Commission, and the Department for Corrective Services.


¨ To gain an understanding of the role of Department for Corrective Services and others during incarceration and upon release to determine how to support the system.


¨ To gain an understanding of the parole and release procedures to determine how to support individuals in this system.


¨ Review the current program of active participation activities in the prisons for incarcerated individuals.


¨ Discuss with staff the possibilities for modifications of activities and adaption of equipment.


¨ Develop ideas for new opportunities for participation in the prisons, and facilitate implementation.


¨ Develop the concept of a release ‘Community Show Bag’ for individuals. This could involve,
a) customising to local areas where the individual is expected to reside
b) providing examples of things to do in the home or in the local park
c) providing examples of how to access local recreation centres, processes, appropriate activities, probable costs
d) provide lots of low cost/no cost options
e) stress balls, fridge magnets etc.


Project Partners  1.   Department for Corrective Services

                     2.   Disability Services Commission

                     3.   Metropolitan Prisons

                     4.   Regional Prisons (depending on resources)


Timeline                 Year One: Metropolitan Project

                                 Year Two: Metropolitan and two Regional areas.

                                 Year Three: Metropolitan and two additional Regional Areas.


Evaluation Ability Solutions would undertake regular internal ongoing weekly review, both of project delivery and staff performance. Annually we would measure target numbers of individuals, agencies, and activity delivery. An overall independent evaluation in year three would relate to achievement of project outcomes and provide guidance to refining program techniques for the future.