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Data and research

If you want to conduct research within the correctional system you must get permission before you start.

To do research you must be:

  • an academic employed by a higher education institution
  • a Masters or PhD student
  • a corrective services employee doing post graduate study.

Public information is available to help you with assignments or other questions if you are:

  • a school student
  • an undergraduate
  • an honours student.

Prisoners and offenders in custody are not allowed to do research involving contact with other prisoners, offenders or corrective services officers.

Applying to conduct independent research

You should discuss your proposal with us before applying. Email research@dcs.qld.gov.au or phone (07) 3006 4103.

You must gain permission to do research by submitting an application to conduct research.

Once we have considered your application, we will advise you of the decision in writing.

After approval

If we approve your application, you must:

  • provide proof of ethics committee clearance before you can start
  • sign a Deed of Agreement which will state any conditions attached to the research approval. These may include confidentiality or getting approval before you publish your research.
  • have a criminal history check. If a criminal history is identified during the check, you will need to seek a waiver to continue with the research.

You must tell a corrective services officer immediately if during your research you get information that leads you to reasonably believe that a prisoner or offender:

  • has committed an offence they have not already been charged with
  • is planning to commit a serious offence.

QCS Research Grant Scheme

We recognise the importance of high quality research and evaluation to inform agency decisions, and improve outcomes for staff, prisoners and the community.

For the first time in 2018, QCS ran a Research Grants Scheme, offering 4 research grants valued at up to $25,000 each, across the following categories:

  1. Managing demand – responding to growth in the corrective services population
  2. Understanding and responding to the diversity of the offender population – recognising, respecting and valuing diversity
  3. Effective and efficient service delivery – improving outcomes through evidence-based practice
  4. Rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners and offenders – supporting individuals to reduce offending and remain in community

What was involved

Applicants were required to:

  • propose a research project that aligns with the QCS research priorities
  • submit a proposal with clearly defined research questions and methodology, outlining the specific benefit of the project to QCS
  • provide QCS with a report of the findings once the project is complete.

This opportunity was open to academics, researchers and research students (with appropriate supervision).

There were 6 research grants awarded for 2018.

Research Grant recipients for 2018

Dr Emma Antrobus, Ms Shannon Dodd and Dr Michelle Sydes

Organisation: University of Queensland

Project title: Cameras in corrections: Exploring the experiences and attitudes of custodial officers on the use of body worn cameras in prison.

Amount granted: $25,000

Body worn cameras (BWCs) have received much attention in policing in recent years, with some demonstrated success in reducing officer use of force, crime rates, and court costs. However, their use in other settings, such as correctional facilities, is less well understood. This study aims to explore custodial officers’ experiences and attitudes toward the use of BWCs following their recent introduction in Queensland correctional facilities.

No research has yet been conducted in this area, making it difficult to identify or respond to any concerns regarding the use of BWCs, or to design adequate training protocols to introduce and govern the use of this technology. This research aims to provide information regarding officers’ perspectives on the introduction of BWCs in correctional facilities, implementation challenges and usage practices, as well as the perceived impact of BWCs on officer/prisoner interactions and officers’ feelings of safety.

Associate Professor Helen Farley

Organisation: University of Southern Queensland

Project title: Understanding the post-release technology experiences of women ex-prisoners: Do they have the access and literacies to support employment and study?

Amount granted: $25,000

This project will explore the technology experiences and perceived digital skills of women prisoners just before their release and 3 and 6 months after their release from custody.

The aim is to determine if their access to and familiarity with digital technologies will be sufficient to equip them for the 21st century workplace.

This information will enable the project team to make recommendations around digital literacies training or resources for women while they are still incarcerated or post-release with a view to enabling their effective reintegration into society.

This project addresses the gap in the research literature around the digital literacies and access to technology of ex-prisoners after release from custody and particularly with respect to women.

Dr Robin Fitzgerald and Dr Emma Antrobus (with Nina Viljamaa and Erin Simpson)

Organisation: University of Queensland

Project title: Building social capital: An evaluation of the Beenleigh/Logan Probation and Parole Community Hubs Pilot

Amount granted: $25,000

The study will be a pilot evaluation of the Hubs initiative, spearheaded by Beenleigh Probation and Parole (P&P) and Logan City Council, to address QCS priorities for improving offender reintegration and P&P case management (Sofronoff 2016).

The Hubs are designed as ‘one-stop-shop’ service provider located in community settings (e.g. libraries, community centres). The Hub aims to encourage participants (offenders) to:

  • develop pro-social, mainstream connections within the local community
  • facilitate access to service providers
  • improve case management.

The research aims to explore the implementation processes of Hubs and to examine how the Hubs affect:

  • participants’ engagement with services and the broader community
  • P&P staff interactions with offenders and caseload management
  • service providers’ connection with offender-clients.

Professor Paul Mazerolle, Dr Li Eriksson and Dr Samara McPhedran

Organisation: Griffith University

Project title: Pathways from intimate partner violence to intimate partner femicide: a pilot case control study

Amount granted: $25,000

Although growing research examines intimate partner violence (IPV) in Australia, notable gaps remain in knowledge about pathways from non-lethal IPV to lethal violence or intimate partner femicide (IPF). The study will use case-control methods to compare IPV perpetrators with IPF perpetrators. The research will identify whether different characteristics and situational factors underlie and predict lethal (relative to non-lethal) violence within intimate relationships.

Unique risk, protective and predictive factors for IPF (relative to IPV) will be identified. This should provide significant benefits such as strengthening behavioural change programs and other interventions, and understanding how risk emerges over time.

The study will begin to provide policy-relevant information, which will enable refinement of risk assessment tools and techniques and improve understanding and identification of possible intervention points. The study will support development of comparative typologies of IPV and IPF offenders to inform improvements in system responses to perpetrators of violence.

Dr Nadine McKillop, Ms Susan Rayment-McHugh, Dr Lara Christensen and Professor Tim Prenzler

Organisation: University of the Sunshine Coast

Project title: The effectiveness of sexual and violent offender rehabilitation and reintegration programs: Integrating global and local perspectives to enhance correctional outcomes

Amount granted: $22,271

This project aims to:

  • identify the most successful pathways from rehabilitation to reintegration for sexual and violent offenders
  • examine whether individual-level (e.g. cultural heritage, gender, age) and program-level (e.g., type, design, delivery, dosage) factors impact on these outcomes.

Expected outcomes include:

  • a comprehensive up-to-date literature review on best-practice
  • mapping current QCS programs to the literature
  • recommendations for enhanced program delivery.

Elke Perdacher, Andrew Aboud, Tamara Smith, Darryn Collins, Carla Meurk, David Kavangagh and Megan Steele

Organisation: Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research

Project title: Patient-facing e-mental health tools to support the wellbeing and mental health of male prisoners in a high-secure prison environment

Amount granted: $24,900

Mental health problems are highly prevalent among people in prison. There is a substantial, increasing treatment gap in mental health care for prisoners with mental health care needs. To address this gap, this project will implement and evaluate a series of tailored patient-facing mental health applications. These applications focus on psychoeducation tools and resources which could be accessed on tablet PCs (locked down, non-networked, password protected) in a prisoner’s own cell. The applications most suitable for the prisoner would be selected through consultation with QHealth practitioners as part of treatment and transition planning for prisoners. This project represents a low impost approach to providing evidence-based psychoeducation in mental health literacy and resilience training to prisoners.

More information

Queensland

Datasets

Data on Queensland prisoners, offenders and prisons is publically available in datasets.

Annual reports and service delivery statements

We report on our achievements each year through annual reports and service delivery statements. These provide information on corrective services initiatives.

Australia-wide

Australian Bureau of Statistics

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is Australia's official statistical organisation.

They report on key corrective services data from all states and territories in the following publications:

Productivity Commission

The Productivity Commission reports on the performance of corrective services across Australia in its annual Report on Government Services.

Part C includes information on the justice system, and Chapter 8 compares corrective services data from each state and territory.

Australian Institute of Criminology

The Australian Institute of Criminology is Australia's national research and knowledge centre on crime and justice.

Their website has free, evidence-based research, relevant to corrective services.

Corrective services in other states and territories

International