Kirby Institute Seminar Series presents
Program Head, Justice Health Research Program, Kirby Institute
About your speaker
Since completing his PhD in prisoner health, Professor Tony Butler have continued to develop research into this population group. Professor Butler has conducted numerous studies examining the health of adult and juvenile offenders and has co-authored many peer-reviewed journal articles on the health of offenders. Areas of interest include mental illness, the role of traumatic brain injury in offending behaviour, blood-borne viral infections, smoking cessation, health surveillance, the development of health indicators for prisoners, sexual health, and violence (including domestic violence). He currently leads the NHMRC Australian Centre of Research Excellence in Offender Health.
Violence is a significant public health problem and a leading cause of death and injury worldwide. A large percentage of prison inmates have histories of violent offending.
In 2009, NHMRC funding was obtained for ReINVEST, a randomised controlled trial to determine if sertraline, a commonly prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressant, reduces offending behaviour in highly impulsive men with histories of violent offending. The study rationale is based on established associations between impulsivity and offending behaviour (including violent offending), and between impulsivity and altered brain serotonin functioning suggesting that enhanced brain serotonin neurotransmission may lead to a reduction in offending behaviour.
To date, there has been no systematic study of the potential benefit of SSRIs in an offender population who are at high risk of repeat offending.