Planning primary health-care services for South Australian young offenders: A preliminary study

Authors

  • Anne Wilson PhD BN MN FRCNA

    1. Lecturer, Coordinator, Doctor of Nursing, Graduate Diploma Nursing Science (Community Health & Primary Care), Discipline of Nursing, School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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Anne Wilson, Discipline of Nursing, School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia. Email: anne.wilson@adelaide.edu.au

Abstract

Although many young offenders receive health care during periods of detention, addressing their health needs after release from secure care is a key strategy for successful rehabilitation and reintegration into the community. The purpose of this preliminary study was to examine current discharge planning practices for young offenders in Youth Training Centres in South Australia with a view to improving offenders' connection with primary health-care services on discharge. To determine the strengths and weaknesses of current discharge planning practices, this exploratory study involved in-depth review of literature and a semistructured focus group of stakeholders. Findings were discussed with an expert advisory group before final recommendations were made. This study identified a service model approach to discharge planning that recommended a nurse located within the Divisions of General Practice as the coordinator. The study found that trusted staff in detention centres, with an awareness of services available in the location of release, influence young offenders' decision-making in relation to health-care services. Awareness and recognition of young offenders' health beyond periods of juvenile detention and into their adult lives is valuable in that it has the potential to establish lifelong healthy behaviours. Bonding with young offenders and gaining their trust increases their likelihood of attending primary health-care services.

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