PIR financial assistance provided funding to the Women’s Health Service to develop referral protocols to support successful reintegration for women leaving prison. The project involved developing a service directory for women with a specific focus on health literacy. The directory is to be an updatable and printable resource on the prison service intranet.
To achieve its objectives, a project officer was employed who worked with a broad and comprehensive reference group (including women recently exited from the prison). The project officer also undertook participatory action research (including interviews with associated services), service delivery mapping, consultations with services about referral pathways and researching post-release support models.
It has been a successful project, which will support the needs of women in and leaving prison, particularly those with mental health needs.
Beneficial outcomes of the project have been many. Currently the project is workign towards creating a coalition of services with a commitment to providing post-release support, an action plan, identifying what is achievable within current resources and mapping out what could be achievable with more resources, planning collaborative and co-ordinated service delivery within coalition services resources, identifying a lead organisation to provide case management pre and post release, and identifying funding sources to seek funding for coalition services to deliver action plan.