Adolescent health and criminal justice

Catalysing Connections for Adolescent Health and Wellbeing 


On Wednesday 6th November, 72 people attended our final 2019 Catalysing Connections event at MCRI, where Professor Stuart Kinner hosted a Q&A style discussion (moderated by Elise Worthington from ABC TV) on criminal justice and adolescent health, addressing what it is that ‘we’ should do differently to:

  • Prevent young people ending up in detention
  • Meet the health-related needs of young people in detention
  • Achieve the best health-related outcomes for young people after release from detention.


To help enact our vision, the CAH run a series of networking events, Catalysing Connections for Adolescent Health and Wellbeing with interested stakeholders. These events bring people together from different disciplines and sectors to discuss the interface between research and policy in adolescent health and wellbeing. Please visit the page for further information and to watch past events.


Children and adolescents who come into contact with the youth justice system are distinguished by complex health problems, typically set against a backdrop of trauma and entrenched disadvantage. Youth detention can compound mental health problems but may also provide opportunities to identify and initiate treatment for undiagnosed health problems. The available evidence suggests that long-term health outcomes for justice-involved young people are typically poor.

This Catalysing Connections event involved a panel discussion with thought leaders in criminal justice, adolescent health, human rights law, youth services, and research.


Prof Stuart Kinner, Head, Justice Health Group, Centre for Adolescent Health, MCRI and University of Melbourne

Ruth Barson, Legal Director, Human Rights Law Centre

Liana Buchanan, Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People

Andrew Bruun, Chief Executive Officer, Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS)

Dr Mick Creati, Senior Fellow, Royal Australian College of Physicians


Elise Worthington, Investigative Reporter ABC TV

This event was supported by funding from the Geoff and Helen Handbury Family Trust.



Professor Stuart Kinner is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow who also holds honorary appointments at the University of Melbourne, Monash University, University of Queensland, and Griffith University. He leads the Justice Health Group, which seeks to generate world-class evidence regarding the health and health service experiences of justice-involved young people, and to advocate for evidence-informed policy to improve their health outcomes. Addressing the health needs of justice-involved young people is important to addressing health inequalities at the population level.

More information can be found here:



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