Collaborative development of an inclusive research agenda for evaluating correctional health services

Research co-leads: 

  • Tonia Nicholls
    University of British Columbia 

Research user co-lead:

  • Nader Sharifi
    BC Mental Health & Substance Use (BCMHSUS) 

Team members: 

  • Amanda Butler
    Simon Fraser University
  • Ilvy Goossens
    Simon Fraser University, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services
  • Faith Eiboff
    University of British Columbia 
  • Christian Farrell
    University of British Columbia 
  • Karen Peterson
    University of British Columbia 
  • Dr. Ruth Lavergne
    Simon Fraser University
  • Deborah Ross
    BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services
  • Maureen Olley
    Mental Health Services Corrections Branch Ministry of Public Safety

People who go to prison experience disproportionate health burdens, including high rates of chronic disease, communicable disease, mental illness and substance use issues, compared to the general population. Prison admissions provide a unique opportunity to provide health care to marginalized individuals.

Health services in prisons are typically delivered by the ministry responsible for Corrections. In October 2017, in accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, the responsibility for healthcare governance in British Columbia (BC) Corrections was transferred from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General (MoPSSG) to the Ministry of Health (MoH); BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services (BCMHSUS) is responsible for this portfolio. Although several jurisdictions worldwide have adopted this approach, there is a critical lack of research and evaluation on both process and outcomes of this policy.

Our team will engage in a  collaborative, inclusive, priority-setting exercise focused on healthcare delivery in correctional facilities in BC, focusing on transitions and aftercare. The primary goal is to co-develop a research agenda to evaluate the healthcare governance transition through meetings with people with lived experience, family members, clinicians, decision-makers, quality and strategic information management experts, and researchers.These critical stakeholders will help us to determine future research priorities.