4 - 5 December, 2017 | Royce Hotel, Melbourne, Australia

Ravenhall Prison: How Integrated Services Improve Prisoner Rehabilitation

40 per cent of Australian prisoners will return to jail within two years of their release.

Ravenhall, a new prison project currently under development in Melbourne’s west is heralding in a new era of prison design and development aiming to counteract these high reoffending figures.

Ravenhall Prison, which will include a full suite of custodial services, will be built, operated and maintained by the GEO Consortium who is leading the way in public/private enterprise in Australia, while simultaneously introducing innovative facility design which focuses on rehabilitation rather than prisoner punishment.  
Ahead of Prison Design and Development 2016 we take a look at some of the shared services on offer at Ravenhall with Christine Fuller, Chief Nursing Officer at Correct Care and Louise Bawden, Project Lead at Forensicare and explore how integrated mental health services can benefit not only the prisoner, but also their families, the Australian government, and the broader community. 

“The Ravenhall Prison project is a new and exciting development in terms of prison programmes in Australia. There has been significant commitment from the government, GEO, Correct Care Australasia, Forensicare and the alliance partners to work together to make Ravenhall Prison really different, and innovative,” says Louise, Project Lead at Forensicare who will be the providers of forensic mental health care at the prison.

The 1000-bed Ravenhall Prison Project is one of Australia’s largest prison projects and will be designed, built, maintained and operated by the GEO Consortium; which incorporates GEO Group Australia, GEO Care, Honeywell, John Holland, Forensicare and the alliance partners.

“This is obviously a complex project, but from the very start the main objective was to get together the consortium to not just design and build, but establish who and how we would deliver care and treatment – so everybody was working together from the start,” said Christine Fuller, Chief Nursing Officer at Correct Care Australasia.

Christine continues: “from the start we’ve all worked together, we’ve had extensive planning meetings, and consultations, and we really understand what each person or provider does – there’s been much more involvement here [in the Ravenhall project]than you normally see. Often the experience working in a prison is that things are retrofitted, or converted, but this is, at least in my career, a unique experience in that we’ve been able to get in at the design stages, and influence every detail – every aspect of the design has been created specifically to serve a purpose.” 

“The mental health units have been designed from the ground up by mental health clinicians, together with the architects and GEO, and I have to say, it’s been a really positive and rewarding experience to be able to be in at the ground level,” adds Louise.  

By partnering with a range of organisations and providers the consortium aims to deliver pre and post-release services at the prison as well as reintegration services. This, coupled with therapeutic architecture, and a focus on mental health facilities, aims to reduce the likelihood of prisoners reoffending once their sentence is complete – ultimately saving the government money and providing better community outcomes. 

To learn more click here to download the full article and read about how Christine and Louise are focusing on rehabilitation for reintegration and how community support can greatly influence the prisoner journey.