Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

To find units available for enrolment in the current year, you must make sure you use the indexes and browse unit tool in the current edition of the Handbook.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitVictorian Institute of Forensic Medicine
OfferedSouthbank Second semester 2013 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Professor Michael Levy


The aim of this unit is to present and discuss the current issues arising from the provision of a medical service in a custodial setting. The topics covered provide insights into the health impacts of penal institutions and the powers and responsibilities of custodians; ethical issues; fitness for interview; fitness for detention; deaths in custody; interpersonal violence and the assessment and management of some frequently presenting medical problems (specifically mental illness and addiction).


On completion of this unit the student is expected to:

  1. understand the responsibilities and powers of custodians;
  2. display a knowledge of custodial and penal institutions;
  3. show familiarity with the procedures for investigating complaints by prisoners and the issues surrounding deaths in custody;
  4. comprehend the ethical issues of the doctor/patient relationship in a custodial setting;
  5. conduct an assessment of an individual's fitness to be interviewed or detained in custody;
  6. recognise and manage a range of medical problems presenting in the custodial setting.


Assignments / Essays (30%)
Case Studies (40%)
Presentations (10%)
Casebook Workbook (20%)

Chief examiner(s)

Off-campus attendance requirements

Compulsory 2 day workshop