Justice Health & Forensic Mental Health Service has its origins in the first European settlement established in Australia in 1788. The health of the penal colony was managed by the Colonial Medical Service, which remained responsible for the medical supervision of convicts until 1836. Subsequently the Prisons Act gave prison governors direct control over healthcare provided to inmates. This continued until 1968 when control of the Prison Medical Service was transferred to the NSW Ministry of Health.

In 1969 two nurses were employed to deliver healthcare to inmates at the Long Bay Correctional Complex. Gradually the Prison Medical Service grew to have a nursing presence at each of the correctional centres around NSW. In 1978 the Nagle Royal Commission made a recommendation that health services to inmates be provided by the NSW Health Department.

In the early 1990s, during a period of reform to healthcare delivery in correctional centres, the Prison Medical Service became the Corrections Health Service and in 1994, the Service was designated a statutory health corporation. In 2004 the Service became known as Justice Health, in recognition of the work we do in the community and courts as well as in correctional and detention facilities.

In 2011, the service became known as Justice Health & Forensic Mental Health Network as part of the national health and hospitals reforms and was renamed to reflect the service as a specialty network.

In 2017 the Network celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the JH&FMHN Board. To find out more on the evolution of the Network click here.

  • 1994 The Corrections Health Board was convened.
  • 1997 The first Inmate Health Survey was published.
  • 1998 The Metropolitan Medical Transit Centre was established to accommodate patients meeting outpatient specialist care.
  • 1998 The Community & Court Liaison Service commenced, providing assessment to Courts for the diversion of mentally ill from gaol.
  • 1998 Justice Health commenced service delivery to NSW Police Cell complexes at four locations.
  • 2001 The Service achieved accreditation with the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards.
  • 2002 Approval was given to build new Forensic and Prison Hospitals at Malabar.
  • 2002 The Correctional Centre Release Treatment Scheme is piloted in rural and metropolitan locations.
  • 2003 Justice Health assumed responsibility for the health care of all adolescent detainees in NSW.
  • 2003 The second Inmate Health Survey was published.
  • 2003 Young People in Custody Health Survey published.
  • 2003 Justice Health Mental Health Service gained accreditation from the ACHS Mental Health In-Depth Review.
  • 2003 Justice Health won a Gold Premier’s Award for our Community & Court Liaison Service and the NSW Health Baxter Award in Continuity of Care for our Correctional Centre Release Treatment Program.
  • 2003 NSW Government approved funding to commence construction of the Forensic and Prison Hospitals at Malabar.
  • 2004 The Centre for Health Research in Criminal Justice was established.
  • 2004 The name of the service was changed from Corrections Health Service to Justice Health.
  • 2005 Adult Community Forensic Mental Health Service was established.
  • 2006 Men's Mental Health Screening Unit at the Silverwater Correctional Centre was opened.
  • 2006 The Adolescent Court and Community Team commenced operation
  • 2006 Young People on Community Orders Health Survey published.
  • 2006 The Compulsory Drug Treatment Program commenced operation.
  • 2006 Construction began of the Forensic and new Long Bay Hospitals.
  • 2007 Women’s Mental Health Screening Unit at Silverwater Correctional Centre was opened.
  • 2007 Masters in Forensic Mental Health, a joint program with the University of New South Wales was officially launched.
  • 2007 Justice Health Strategic Plan to 2010 was published.
  • 2007 Justice Health successfully completed the Mental Health In-depth Review and received full Accreditation from ACHS.
  • 2008 The new Long Bay Hospital was opened.
  • 2008 Memorandums of Understanding were established with the Sexual Assault Services in 8 Area Health Services.
  • 2008 The first Aboriginal Health Worker positions were established as part of Health Centre staff profile at Wellington Correctional Centre.
  • 2008 The new Long Bay Hospital was opened with the smooth transition of staff and patients from the old Long Bay Hospital.
  • 2008 The Forensic Hospital accepted its first patients from the Mental Health Rehabilitation Hostel.
  • 2009 High Risk Pregnancy In-Reach Clinics were established in partnership with Nepean Hospital Antenatal Services.
  • 2009 Aboriginal Chronic Care Program expanded from 8 to 16 sites, including two Adolescent locations.
  • 2010/2011 Development, implementation and monitoring of the Focusing on Care: Action Plan in response to the Culture Improvement Project
  • 2011 Care Navigation Support Program went live in April 2011
  • 2011 Establishment of haemodialysis service in Long Bay Hospital
  • 2011 Engagement of the Essentials of Care Program statewide
  • 2011 Establishment of the Forensic Mental Health Network
  • 2012 Conducted Patient Snapshot Survey
  • 2013 Launched the 2013-2017 Strategic
  • 2013 Launched Board & Patient Charters
  • 2013 Launched Respecting the Difference: Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Training during NAIDOC Week
  • 2014 Launched the 2014-2017 Research Plan
  • 2014 Statewide rollout of electronic health record JHeHS
  • 2014 Launched internal Recognition & Awards Program
  • 2015 Implementation of Smokefree Prison Policy
  • 2015 Introduced Custodial Diversion Program
  • 2015 Establishment of Integrated Care Service
  • 2016 Commenced Aboriginal Court Diversion & Bail Support Pilot Program
  • 2017 Rollout of the Shared Care Model 
  • 2017 25th Anniversary of the JH&FMHN Board
  • 2017 Launch of the 2018-2022 Strategic Plan
  • 2017 Release of the 2015 Network Patient Health Survey
  • 2017 Release of the 2015 Young People in Custody Health Survey Report
  • 2017 Release of the 2015 Network Patient Health Survey– Aboriginal People’s Health Report