Innovation and collaboration in custodial youth justice – translating a mental health model to the custodial setting to reduce conflict and improve safety for all.

Mrs Madeleine Gardiner1, Patrick Ryan1, Adrian Bol2

1Ashley Youth Detention Centre, Children And Youth Services, Department Of Communities,, Deloraine , Australia, 2Tasmanian State-wide Safewards Coordinator

This presentation will focus on the innovative application of a mental health nursing model to the custodial youth justice setting with the goal to reduce conflict and increase safety for residents and staff.

Crossing traditional professional disciplines, the Safewards Model (1) developed for the mental health setting has been adapted to the custodial setting at Tasmania’s  youth detention facility. With a vision to deliver custodial youth justice in a therapeutic environment, the Safewards Model has been used to develop a practice model called “SafeCentres” for staff working in the custodial youth justice setting that is practical, appropriate, relevant and therapeutic and evidence based. The model developed due to an innovative partnership between custodial youth justice and mental health.

Synergies between the aims for mental health services and the aims for custodial youth justice will be demonstrated. The presentation illustrates a model that focuses on caring for the health and wellbeing of staff and young people in the custodial youth justice setting.

The process of the adaptation and development of the model will be demonstrated.

The presentation demonstrates the innovative development of a framework for  custodial care, and how this can be used by other jurisdictions to reduce conflict and the use of restrictive interventions, resulting in safer and more therapeutic environments.  Further, it will demonstrate how professionals can work together and collaborate to meet challenges in custodial youth justice.


  1. Bowers, L, Safewards: a new model of conflict and containment on psychiatric wards,, date viewed 21 September 2018


Madeleine is the Manager of Professional Services and Policy at Ashley Youth Detention Centre. 2 years ago Madeleine made a bit of a leap  from her previous profession of nursing to working in the custodial youth justice setting.

Madeleine has a Master of Clinical Nursing and qualifications as a Child Health Nurse. Madeleines masters focus was on the role mentoring plays in the lives of adolecents to achieve positive  health outcomes. Madeleine has previously worked as a  Nurse Manager, Nurse Educator, and a home visiting nurse in a case mangement role supporting  vulnerable adolscents. Madeleine is currently completing a Master of Social Work.

Patrick is the Manager of the Ashley Youth Detention Centre in Tasmania, which is the State’s single facility, and has held the position for two and half years.  Prior to his appointment, Patrick was a senior serving member of the Tasmania Police Service, specialising in Uniform, Prosecution and Family Violence fields.  He is an experienced leader and manager, with qualifications from the University of Tasmania, and is a member of the Tasmanian Lawyers’ Disciplinary Tribunal.