Forging research collaboration between academia and correctional practice in New South Wales through an evaluation of the EQUIPS treatment program for offenders.

Dr Marlee Bower1, Dr Mark Howard2, Dr Emma Barrett1, A/Prof Nicola Newton1, Dr Yun Zhang2

1The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, University Of Sydney, Sydney, Australia,

2Corrections Research, Evaluation and Statistics, Corrective Services New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

It is now considered best practice that programs servicing vulnerable populations are supported by rigorous evidence and high-quality evaluation to ensure the best outcomes for communities. As part of aims to utilise independent expertise in developing the evidence base for offender interventions, Corrective Services New South Wales (CSNSW) has recently developed a new partnership of research consultancy and collaboration with the Matilda Centre (University of Sydney). Through discrete projects, the partnership will allow for sharing of information, strategies and research interests between the two agencies, with an intended scope to establish a longer-term mutual collaborative research agenda and capacity building. The first project between the two agencies is an evaluation of the process and outcomes of the EQUIPS programs, a frontline suite of group interventions used by CSNSW to address criminogenic needs among offenders in custodial and community settings. There are four programs: EQUIPS Foundation, EQUIPS Aggression, EQUIPS Addiction and EQUIPS Domestic Abuse. This presentation will discuss the partnership, provide some of the preliminary evaluation findings and discuss how these findings could translate into reimagined practice within CSNSW and improved outcomes for communities.


Biography:

Dr. Marlee Bower is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use. She recently completed her PhD in 2019 from Western Sydney University on the experience of loneliness amongst people experiencing homelessness in Australia. She has experience working on numerous evaluations of services and programs for people experiencing homelessness. She has previously worked in state government in prison inspection and homelessness strategy.

Dr. Mark Howard is a forensic psychologist with several years’ experience in the local criminal justice system, providing psychological assessments and expert evidence for the NSW Courts. He received his PhD at the UNSW in 2013, focusing on cognitive inhibitory responses to potentially traumatic events. He is currently Manager of Operational Performance and Research at the Corrections Research Evaluation and Statistics (CRES) branch of Corrective Services NSW. In collaboration with a team of researchers and external partners Dr. Howard is engaged in numerous research projects, with interests in violence within prisons, sexual offending, mechanisms of change in offender treatment, and program evaluation.

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