Improving the health and wellbeing of ACT detainees


The ACT Government has released a new five-year plan to improve the health and wellbeing of adult detainees in the ACT.

The ACT Detainee Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2023-28 has been developed in consultation with key stakeholders, including detainees and the people who provide health and wellbeing services to them. It represents a shared commitment to improving detainee health and wellbeing services to address their existing health and wellbeing needs, and to minimise negative effects of imprisonment on people’s physical and mental health.

Minister for Mental Health and Justice Health Emma Davidson said the strategy represented an important step towards achieving the ACT Government’s vision of a society that supports all people to feel healthy, safe, empowered and optimistic about their future.

“All Canberrans, regardless of their circumstances, deserve a world-class health system that is accessible, appropriate and easy to navigate,” Minister Davidson said.

“This strategy represents a shared commitment across responsible organisations to work better together to deliver safer, higher-quality health care for detainees.

“This strategy is a significant first step in building upon a shared understanding and commitment among organisations who have responsibilities for health and wellbeing services to detainees. The strategy drives cooperative arrangements to address barriers and improve health and wellbeing outcomes for detainees.

Stakeholders said it was critical to seek ways to keep enhancing detainees access to care that meets their needs when they need it. They also highlighted the importance of detainees knowing what health services were available and how to access them so that they are empowered to seek out care when they needed it. 

The strategy’s four strategic priorities are:
•    Responsiveness: Improving person-centred care by ensuring culturally and individually responsive service delivery.
•    Collaboration: Strengthening integrative responses by establishing collaborative and coordinated support systems for detainees, their families, and staff.
•    Workforce: Building staff capability and satisfaction, by enabling confidence and competency, empowering our workforce to deliver safe, high-quality care.
•    Governance: Ensuring strong, accountable governance by embedding accountability and supporting mechanisms that continuously improve systems and services.

The ACT Detainee Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2023-28 can be found here: