The Australian prison population is growing and becoming increasingly diverse. Yet very little research has investigated mental health concerns for multi-cultural prisoners. This mixed methods study aimed to identify the prevalence of mental health factors (wellbeing, distress and coping) in a cohort of 530 prisoners from Indigenous, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and English-speaking backgrounds (ESB) at a maximum-security prison in Victoria, Australia. Focus group interviews were also conducted with an additional 40 prisoners. It was found that Indigenous prisoners had significantly higher levels of distress and more symptoms of anxiety and depression than CALD and ESB prisoners. CALD prisoners had a greater sense of ‘feeling in control’ in prison than ESB prisoners. The focus group interviews also identified several factors that contributed to mental health differences between the groups. Findings reinforce the need for a more individualised approach in addressing mental health issues for prisoners cross-culturally.
Rose, A., Trounson, J., Skues, J., Daffern, M., Shepherd, S. M., Pfeifer, J. E., & Ogloff, J. R. P. (2019). Psychological wellbeing, distress and coping in Australian Indigenous and multicultural prisoners: a mixed methods analysis. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 26(6), 886–903. https://doi.org/10.1080/13218719.2019.1642259