Engagement with the criminal justice system is often associated with recidivism, which has previously been viewed as product of individual failure to enact behavioural change (e.g., defiance or lack of motivation) however, it is currently argued that rehabilitation fails to accurately address the needs of people engaged in criminal justice services. The experience of trauma has been suggested to influence the likelihood of offending and reoffending and whilst trauma is not the only factor impacting offending, addressing trauma may present a key opportunity to disrupt cycles of offending. Trauma-informed approaches that recognise the importance of trauma and seek to address its’ effects. It has been suggested that trauma-informed approaches should be incorporated within the criminal justice system as adopting this approach can provide care that is sensitive, minimises the negative consequences of incarceration, and overall improves the efficacy of rehabilitation. Prison settings may present a viable opportunity to recognise and address trauma in manner that avoids retraumatisation and aids in recovery which may improve the success of rehabilitation. Further, reintegration services which have a trauma-informed perspective may assist in the reintegration process. TIP implementation has been found to improve outcome for both prisoners and corrections staff, but there is clearly a lot more to be understood in terms of how it can be best implemented and whom it works for best, as well as the systemic variables which are most important to ensuring maximum benefit.
Peter Miller (PhD) is a Professor of Violence Prevention and Addiction Studies at the School of Psychology, Deakin University. He is the Director of the Deakin University Centre for Drug use, Addictive and Anti-social behaviour Research (CEDAAR: www.deakin.edu.au/cedaar).
He is co-convenor of the Trauma-Informed Policing Special Interest Group of the Global Law Enforcement and Public Health Association (GLEPHA: https://glepha.com/special-interest-groups/trauma-informed-policing-sig/).
He is Chair and developer of the Psychology Addictions Unit and currently developing a free online trauma awareness course: How does trauma affect your relationships, work and community? Exploring trauma -informed, neuro-informed and shame-sensitive practice
Peter has completed five of the largest studies ever conducted into alcohol policy, licensed venues, violence, comparing 12 Australian cities over 10 years and talking to more than 25,000 patrons. The largest and most recent of these was the Queensland Alcohol-related violence and Night-Time Economy (QUANTEM) project (http://quantem.info/). Three year findings are described in a Special issue in Drug and Alcohol Review: Drug and Alcohol Review (wiley.com)
His other research interests include: Trauma-informed practice, the impacts of trauma (including Childhood Corporal Punishment), Adverse Childhood Experiences, neurodiversity and Brain Injury on aggressive and addictive behaviour, the predictors of violence (including family and domestic violence), and Corporate Political Activity of alcohol and dangerous consumptions industries.
He has published over 300 journal articles, books and peer-reviewed reports. He is currently running a major study assessing the impact of Policy initiatives in the Northern Territory (including Minimum Floor Price and the Banned Drinkers Register: www.learntproject.com).