Synapse email updates

required
required
required

What's in an update?

Synapse endeavours to keep you updated with the latest information and news. If you would like to receive our monthly E-newsletter, please fill out your information above and we can keep you in the know!

 
 

Blog

Call to test inmates for brain injury

Blog
 
 
Img

Call to test inmates for brain injury


The state's public advocate is calling for all prisoners to be routinely checked for all cognitive impairments, including acquired brain injuries and intellectual disabilities, when they enter jail.

 

Colleen Pearce heads the independent body the Victorian government set up to protect the rights of people with a disability. She said it was critical to identify impairments early on to ensure prisoners received effective support and to prevent them from reoffending when released, because there were higher and more severe rates of cognitive impairments in prisons than in the community.

 

''Without [routine screening], people with cognitive impairments can get trapped in a revolving door of endless contact with police and prisons with attendant costs to the community and, worse, the loss of their potential as contributing community members,'' she said.

 

Fairfax Media reported last month that up to half of state prisoners have an acquired brain injury, many undiagnosed.

 

Advertisement Neuropsychologist Rachel Hutchens said acquired brain injuries, in particular, should be tested routinely. Dr Hutchens was involved in a five-year study that developed a screening tool for such injuries, which was commissioned by the Department of Justice in 2009.

 

The study - conducted by La Trobe University and brain damage specialist Arbias - estimated that 42 per cent of men and 33 per cent of women in the prison population had an acquired brain injury.

 

Dr Hutchens said the tool was more effective because it included questions about not only previous assaults and car accidents, but also alcohol and drug use, suicide attempts and overdoses.

 

''Those risk factors actually came out as being more prevalent than traumatic brain injury and are currently being ignored as real risks of causing acquired brain injury in the prison system,'' she said.

References and further information

The original article was produced by The Age website.


To view the rest of this article, visit The Age website.
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/call-to-test-inmates-for-brain-injury-20130425-2ihal.html

 

Our partners