Justice And Mental Health

In February 2012, the MHCSA hosted a Justice Forum in conjunction with OARS and Victim Support Service Inc.

People with a mental illness are over-represented in the justice system. Prisoner numbers in South Australia are increasing meaning that more people with a mental illness will find themselves in the justice system, particularly indigenous people.
Prisons have become the institutions of last resort for people with a mental illness, and once released from the justice system, people with a mental illness are at risk of re-offending, increased hospitalisation and high mortality rates.
Together we need to address these issues as the costs are escalating to our community, individuals and the public purse.
Please help us to find ways to better support people with mental illness to avoid unnecessary contact with the criminal justice system.


For a summary of the forum please follow this link…


Speakers at the Justice System Forum



Professor Rick Sarre, Professor Law and Criminal Justice, UniSA

Professor Rick Sarre is Professor of Law and Criminal Justice at University of South Australia (Schools of Law and Commerce). He studied in the USA and Canada in the 1970s and 1980s and received his doctorate from the University of Canberra in 2002.
He has been teaching law and criminology for 25 years in addition to five years of legal practice. He currently serves as the President of the South Australian Institute of Justice Studies Inc and is the Vice President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology (ANZSOC).
He also served three years on the Victim Support Service (SA) board, and is currently on the Offenders Aid and Rehabilitation Services of SA board. In 2010 he stood unsuccessfully for federal parliament. He and his wife Debra and their two children travelled with him during overseas teaching stints in the USA (1997) and Sweden (2004).



Greg Mead SC, Chief Counsel of the Legal Services Commission of SA.

Greg Mead SC has been a legal aid lawyer practising mainly criminal law for the past 25 years. He is now Chief Counsel of the Legal Services Commission of SA (Legal Aid).
He has acted for many people suffering from mental health problems and appeared for them in the various court jurisdictions in SA: the Supreme and District Courts; the Magistrates Court and the Youth Court.


Garner Clancey, Lecturer at the Sydney Institute of Criminology (University of Sydney).

Garner has studied psychology (Bachelor of Arts), criminology (Masters), urban planning (two non-award units) and recently commenced a PhD focusing on crime prevention.
Garner was appointed as a Lecturer at the Sydney Institute of Criminology (University of Sydney) in January 2012. Previously, Garner worked in the criminal justice system (NSW Department of Juvenile Justice and the NSW Police Force) for 10 years and was a crime prevention consultant for the last 10 years.
During this time he developed crime prevention plans for local councils; devised a resource manual for public space CCTV; delivered training to security guards, police and others in various Australian jurisdictions and evaluated various crime prevention programs.
Garner has taught (and continues to teach) criminology and crime prevention courses for in excess of 11 years at various universities, including the University of Sydney and the University of NSW; is an Executive Member of the Australian Crime Prevention Council and has been on various boards and committees with a focus on youth crime.



Dr Astrid Birgden, Consultant Forensic Psychologist and Fellow, Deakin University.

For 25 years Astrid has been involved in the development of policy and the delivery of services to offenders.
In terms of service delivery, she has established and managed statewide services for offenders with an intellectual disability, mainstream sex offenders, and most recently a compulsory drug treatment prison.
In terms of service development, she developed a statewide reducing reoffending framework in corrections and established two family violence courts. Since commencing as a consultant in 2011, Astrid has been involved in the development and review of treatment plans for clients in disability and psychiatric services.
She has recently completed a Certificate in Advanced Mental Disability Law through New York Law School and is published in the areas of offender rehabilitation, therapeutic jurisprudence and human rights.



Dr Adam Tomison, Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology.

Dr Adam Tomison was appointed Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) in July 2009. He is internationally recognised as an expert in the field of child abuse, the prevention of child abuse and other family violence, and the development and operation of child protection and family support systems.
An experienced public service executive, he has worked over the past two decades with a range of government, non-government organisations and advocacy groups focused on child protection and child abuse prevention in Australia and overseas. Prior to his appointment with the AIC he was Head of the Child Protection Program at the Menzies School of Health Research.
From 2004 to 2008 he held various senior executive positions within the Northern Territory Department of Health and Families, including as Director of the Northern Territory’s Family and Children’s Services, and as the Department’s inaugural Principal Child Protection Adviser in 2004. In 2006-07 Dr Tomison acted as the expert advisor (and Director of Policy and Research) for the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ NT Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse.
He became well-known for his work as a senior researcher with the Australian Institute of Family Studies, managing the National Child Protection Clearinghouse. Under his leadership, the Clearinghouse became a centre for excellence with a national and international reputation in the field of child abuse prevention and child protection.
He subsequently developed a number of other national research and information units for the Institute, notably the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault. Dr Tomison has made significant academic contributions to scholarly and applied research in the areas of child protection and violence prevention, and was appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the Australian Catholic University in 2010. He is a frequent presenter at conferences and has regularly run educational and training seminars for professionals and the wider community. He has a BSc (Hons) from Deakin and completed his PhD at Monash University.



Jane Anderson, Lawyer.

Jane Anderson is a lawyer who has practised in South Australia and New South Wales. She is a Deputy President of the Guardianship Board of South Australia and was appointed to this role two years ago. Her work at the Guardianship Board includes the making of Guardianship and Administration Orders for people with a mental incapacity who require a substitute decision-maker. Jane’s work at the Guardianship Board also involves the making or reviewing of orders under the Mental Health Act 2009, including orders for the involuntary treatment of people with a mental illness.
She was a senior lawyer at the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. She appeared as prosecuting counsel in criminal courts in Sydney and Adelaide, and provided legal advice to government agencies, including the Australian Federal Police.
Jane had direct involvement in the legal and policy issues surrounding mental illness and the criminal law, including the Mental Health Diversion Court.
In addition to her work at the Guardianship Board, Jane has a strong interest in mental health advocacy and support, and is a member of the Board of the Mental Illness Fellowship of South Australia (MIFSA).



Facilitator: Amanda Blair,  Adelaide personality.

Amanda Blair is a broadcaster, columnist, and public speaker. She is a Board member of The Independent Gambling Authority and a former lead columnist with the Sunday Mail. She is a former member of the Social Inclusion Board and spent six years on the Board of the Adelaide Festival. Amanda was a founding Board Member of the Contemporary Collectors Society raising funds for the acquisition of of contemporary works for the Art Gallery of South Australia. She has a keen interest in social justice and produced an event Comedy For A Cause as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2004, 2006 and 2008 which raised funds for the homeless of Adelaide.
Her individual fundraising efforts have raised over $1 million dollars for charity. She started a recreational program in the Adelaide Women’s Prison in 2003 and was instrumental in putting a library into the prison to aid the literacy programs.
Her radio career started in Melbourne in 1996 and she hosted the number 1 breakfast show in Adelaide for 5 years. After a three year break from radio, she started at Five AA in 2007 hosting the afternoon show.
In 2003 she won a prestigious “MO Award” for the best live show in Australia and a Media Citation from Archbishop Philip Wilson for her work instigating the Shoebox of Love Campaign. In 2011 she was the recipient of the St Mary of the Cross Mackillop Award for Outstanding contribution to the media.
She is the Ambassador for The Starlight Children’s Foundation, Time for Kids, Bonnie Babes Foundation, Hutt Street Centre, The Bedford Group, and Minda. She is a past Board Member of Catherine House, a shelter for homeless women and is still heavily involved with the fundraising aspects of the Charity. She is also a registered respite carer with Time for Kids.
Last year she was shortlisted for South Australian of the Year and for Community South Australian of the Year.
She has 4 children under 7 and a husband whom she quite likes when she sees him.
Whilst she is proud of the above achievements, perhaps her finest moment was winning a Blue Ribbon at the Adelaide Show in 2010 in Category 55, Slices, three, two of each, baked or un-baked at the Adelaide Show.