People with acquired brain injury (ABI) are overrepresented in prison populations across many countries. An effective service response to reduce this trend requires collaboration between the ABI and criminal justice (CJ) sectors. The Building Bridges project piloted a novel professional development model designed to increase cross-sectoral knowledge and collaboration between the ABI and CJ sectors. A total of 178 service providers from Victoria, Australia, participated in six professional development forums that included content about ABI, policing, disability and legal supports, and correctional/post-release services. Participants came from the disability, criminal justice, and health and community service sectors. Using a pre-test–post-test design with 6-month follow-up, data were obtained via a project-specific questionnaire evaluating knowledge and behaviour change among participants. Statistically significant gains in knowledge were shown at post-test and maintained at follow-up. Work-related behaviours addressing ABI/CJ issues had increased significantly within both sectors at follow-up compared to the 6 months prior to the forum. Carefully constructed professional forums improved cross-silo collaboration in the ABI/CJ sectors. This pilot project illustrates effective use of existing service resources, and highlights training as an important part of a raft of initiatives needed to address the overrepresentation of people with ABI in the CJ system.

Glenn Kelly, Suzanne Brown & Grahame K Simpson
Neuropsychological Rehabilitation: An International Journal, 08 Jun 2018