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Case Study: Radio as a tool for health promotion

26 Jul 2013, by Informa Insights

‘It’s not unusual to use radio as a tool for health promotion’ and ‘Radio for prisoners isn’t that unusual either “.   So what’s unique about The Jailbreak Radio Project?

Jailbreak  is a radio program for prisoners with a strategic health agenda.   Funded by NSW Health the Jailbreak Health Project has developed health promotion for radio targeting a vulnerable, stigmatised, often hidden and silent population isolated through imprisonment, or criminalised or socially alienated in our communities.   Understanding the life experiences of  listeners is imperative in developing health promotion for radio and in reaching the target audience.   Jailbreak’s listeners often experience profound social, health, economic and educational disadvantage.  They may also experience impaired cognitive ability due to mental illness, acquired brain injury or intellectual disability and may be linguistically and culturally diverse. You can listen to an example of Jailbreak’s work in the video below, which features an interview with Ice Cube.


Jailbreaks health promotion agenda specifically targets blood born viruses (BBV’s) and sexually transmitted infections (STI’s).  Studies have consistently shown prisoner populations to have higher rates of blood-borne viruses than the general community and are characterized by their engagement in health risk behaviors, most notably injecting drug use.  The absence of needle and syringe programs (NSPs) within the Australian prison system and sharing of contaminated injecting equipment, tattooing, and other blood-to-blood contact clearly places prisoners  and families at a demonstrably higher risk of exposure to BBV’s transmission.  (National Prison Entrants’ Blood borne Virus and Risk Behavior Survey Report 2010.)   Drugs use including injecting continues in prison although illegal.  50% of prisoners will have been exposed to hep C, mostly through reusing equipment, compared to 1% in the general community.   The prevalence of Hepatitis C within NSW correctional settings remains unchanged.   Consequently, prisoners are 5 times increased risk of exposure to blood-borne viruses such as HIV and viral hepatitis.

Jailbreak Health Project Coordinator Kate Pinnock will be presenting at the 4th Annual Correctional Services Healthcare Summit 2013.

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