FOR5008 - Custodial medicine - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Forensic Medicine


Dr Luke Streitberg

Quota applies

This unit is quota restricted. Selection is on a first-in, first enrolled basis. For further information please contact the Postgraduate Course Administrator via email or phone 03 9684 4115.

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Online)


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).


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Evaluate the responsibilities and powers of custodians;
  2. Distinguish between the functions and purposes of custodial and penal institutions;
  3. Outline procedures for investigating complaints by prisoners, and the issues surrounding deaths in custody;
  4. Evaluate 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. Create management strategies for a range of medical problems presenting in the custodial setting;
  7. Identify and evaluate the challenges related to safe prescribing of medications in a custodial environment.


  • Hurdle introductory activity (0%) (hurdle)
  • Session Assessments 4 x 10% (750 words each) (40%) (Hurdle)
  • Oral presentation (15 min) (25%)
  • Workbook (2,000 words)(35%)

Workload requirements

It is expected that students will need to undertake approximately 12 hours of study per week over the semester. This will include contact time, private study, assessment tasks (case studies, assignments) and, where possible, involvement in casework. Students are required to attend all workshops offered at the Department of Forensic Medicine during the semester.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

Off-campus attendance requirements

Compulsory 2 day workshop.

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: