Authors: Scott Nelson, Mathew Cocomazzo
Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference
Subject: How Should Courts Treat People? An integrated service delivery model within a community justice centre.
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Scott Nelson: BEH (Emergency Health)
Scott is employed by Neami National and has spent the past four years developing and implementing the Intensive Mental Health Outreach Support Service at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre. He has been employed in various roles in the community mental health sector for the past 10 years with a recent focus on supporting people who come into contact with the criminal justice system.
Mathew Cocomazzo: MAPS, Master of Psychology, Post Grad Dip Psychology, B App Sc (Psychology)
Mathew is a psychologist currently employed at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre, where for the last five years, he has occupied the dual role of Team Leader of Client Services and drug and alcohol clinician. Mathew has spent the last 18 years working in public and private settings working with people presenting with addiction and mental health concerns.
Providing a unique approach to criminal justice in Australia, the Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC) in Collingwood, Victoria combines a court with a variety of support services and community initiatives. As Australia’s only community justice centre, it is designed to prevent and reduce crime, improve safety and increase access to the justice system.
Central to the model is the Client Services Team, consisting of a variety of co-located and integrated agencies based at the NJC providing streamlined access to support such as mental health, drug and alcohol and housing. These services work in partnership to provide coordinated and comprehensive case management addressing underlying factors that contribute to offending.
This collaborative approach to supporting clients at the NJC is illustrated using an extended case study example of a client with a range of complex needs including criminal matters, undiagnosed cognitive impairment, mental health issues, homelessness, poorly managed physical health and substance dependence.
Over a period of 2 years, significant outcomes were achieved in addressing these issues. This case study will demonstrate an integrated service model in action and highlight the benefits of this approach for clients, services, the justice system and the community.
1. Participants will gain an understanding of an effective integrated service model for supporting people with complex needs.
2. Given the prevalence of mental illness and comorbidity in the criminal justice system, collaboration between services is essential to manage the level of complexity and provide targeted support to vulnerable people.
Ross, S. (2015). Evaluating Neighbourhood Justice: Measuring and attributing outcomes for a community justice program. Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, No. 499, Nov, pp. 1-8.
Morgan, A. & Brown, R. (2015). Estimating the costs associated with community justice. Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, No. 507, Nov, pp. 1-12.
Neighbourhood Justice Centre (2013). Reflections on Practice: The Neighbourhood Justice Centre experience of ‘doing justice locally’. Melbourne: Victorian Government Department of Justice.