Corrections Victoria recently presented its Prison Disability Support Initiative (PDSI) to local and international corrections, health and government stakeholders at the 7th Annual Future Justice and Corrections Summit in Sydney.

The annual summit focuses on sharing best practices around justice reform, rehabilitation programs, and community-based solutions from across Australia and New Zealand.

Acting Manager of the PDSI, Rebecca Barbie spoke about the PDSI as a strengths-based initiative that supports individuals within the Victorian corrections system with cognitive impairments.

The PDSI improves communication between clinical and operational services, tailoring services to each individual’s needs and providing access to support services, such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme. This support is provided through direct clinical engagement (such as specialist clinical assessment, therapeutic intervention) and with relevant disability services.

The service provides training to the correctional workforce to understand and respond to people with suspected or confirmed cognitive impairment. This includes formal training modules and tailored training for specific complex individuals

The PDSI intends to achieve meaningful outcomes for individuals with disability, and for the staff and environment that accommodates them. The main goal of the PDSI is to support reduction in recidivism rates for individuals with disability.

Speaking at the summit, Rebecca represented the PDSI multidisciplinary allied health team, which tailors its support to individuals to support a positive behavioural change and a better transition back into the community.

The PDSI was introduced in 2021 for an initial one-year pilot and has secured an additional four years of funding until 30 June 2026.