Enhancing Health Outcomes for People Exiting Prison: A New Approach
Jesuit Social Services is a social change organization with over 40 years’ experience in the criminal justice system. Jesuit Social Service’s ReConnect program provides outreach case management to eligible adults exiting prison to reside in North West Metropolitan Melbourne. ReConnect supports reintegration through seven domains: housing, education and training, employment, mental health, alcohol and other drugs, living skills and family/community connectedness.
In partnership with St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and Bolton Clarke, a Homeless Persons’ Program nurse has been embedded within ReConnect to address the cohort’s complex health needs and poor health outcomes. The nurse provides flexible, accessible and assertive primary health care to participants, and secondary consultation to the 14 ReConnect staff to support health sector navigation and management of health issues for participants. This innovative model of care is being evaluated by the University of Melbourne, including data collection of cohort demographics, service delivery, and participants’ self-reported health needs pre/post intervention. To understand health outcomes and experiences related to this enhanced care model, a data linkage with state and national healthcare records will be conducted, along with qualitative interviews and focus groups for participants and staff.
Since the pilot commenced in September 2017, the nurse has delivered 1,033 direct occasions of service to 154 participants, and provided consistent secondary consultations to ReConnect staff. Case examples demonstrate the breadth of services provided, including health sector navigation, participant advocacy across acute and primary health settings, strengthening of participants’ self-care capacity and health literacy, in addition to direct nursing assessment and care.
Jesuit Social Services
Manager, Adult Justice Programs
Suzi James-Nevell is the Manager of Adult Justice Programs at Jesuit Social Services. She oversees ReConnect a post release reintegration support program working with adults exiting prison to reside in North West Metropolitan Melbourne; and also has oversight of the African Visitation and Mentoring Program (AVAMP) which trains community members to provide visitation and mentoring support to African men and women in prison. Suzi is a member of the Governance Committee for Barreng Moorop a program delivered by the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) which works with 10-14 year old Aboriginal children and their families who have involvement with the criminal justice system. Suzi has spent over 20 years working in the community sector and has a background working in homelessness, housing, gender specific service delivery and family violence. Suzi has a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Psychology and a Bachelor of Education from Monash University; and a Diploma in Vocational Education and Training (VET) from Swinburne University.
Homeless person’s program
Michael Schupbach completed his Bachelor of Nursing at Deakin University in 2006; and began his career with a general nursing graduate year at the Austin Hospital. Following this Michael worked in acute general nursing roles medical, surgical and ED. Michael has post graduate qualifications in drug and alcohol and mental health. Michael also has experience in the community drug and alcohol sector, homelessness, primary healthcare and adult inpatient mental health system. Most recently Michael’s career has involved working in the correctional system at the Metropolitan Remand Centre and Youth Justice at the Parkville Juvenile Justice Centre. Michael is currently employed by Bolton Clarke homeless person’s program, which provides holistic health care to people experiencing homelessness to improve their access to general community services, and work with these services to arrange healthcare that is accessible and relevant to the needs of people experiencing homelessness, disadvantage and social isolation. Michael is co-located with Jesuit Social Services ReConnect program which is a post release reintegration support program working with adults exiting prison to reside in North West Metropolitan Melbourne.