Prisons | Dr Stuart Kinner

“People are sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment.” The appalling treatment of children at Banksia Hill Youth Detention Centre urges us to rethink how we treat some of society’s most vulnerable people. 

People who have spent time in prison are generally more disadvantaged, with higher health care needs than the wider Australian population, but their quality of life is often not considered to be public health or human rights issues. 

In this episode, Sarah is joined by Dr Stuart Kinner, a Professor in Curtin’s School of Population Health. They discuss Australia’s current treatment of justice-involved people, and changes that need to be made to multiple systems to improve structural inequalities that exist for people who are involved throughout the prison cycle. 

  • Government’s response to Banksia Hill found wanting [02:02]
  • “People are sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment” [04:42]
  • People in prison have human rights [04:42]
  • People in prisons can't access Medicare [06:36]
  • The stigma of being in prison [13:25]
  • People who seek help more likely to return to jail [19:15]
  • Effective support for people released from prison [22:55]
  • Prisons as places of rehabilitation [26:51]
  • Hope for changes to the system [28:55]

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Dr Stuart Kinner is a Professor in Curtin’s School of Population Health. He leads a program of multi-disciplinary research on the health of marginalised and justice-involved people. His work is distinguished by methodological rigour, ethical research practice and meaningful research translation. 

He is experienced in longitudinal studies, multi-sectoral data linkage, randomised controlled trials, program evaluation, policy analysis, systematic review, and meta-analysis. He has produced more than 250 publications (192 peer reviewed) and attracted more than $28 million in research and consulting funds, mostly from nationally competitive schemes. 

Dr Kinner is Chair of Australia’s_National Youth Justice Health Advisory Group and_ the WHO’s Health in Prisons Programme Technical Expert Group. He also serves on the Steering Committee for the_Worldwide Prison Health Research and Engagement Network.

Dr Kinner's social profiles:


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Behind the scenes

Host: Sarah Taillier
Content creator: Zoe Taylor

First Nations Acknowledgement

Curtin University acknowledges the traditional owners of the land on which Curtin Perth is located, the Whadjuk people of the Nyungar Nation, and on Curtin Kalgoorlie, the Wongutha people of the North-Eastern Goldfields; and the First Nations peoples on all Curtin locations.


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