COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network (Justice Health NSW) has long-standing procedures in place to prevent and control communicable diseases, including vaccination, treatment and isolation of affected inmates and patients, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), increased environmental cleaning and identifying and monitoring individuals at increased risk from infection. These procedures cover the Forensic Hospital and correctional environments.

We acknowledge and sincerely thank our staff for their unwavering commitment to the health, safety, and wellbeing of those in our care.

We're working closely with inmates and patients, partner agencies including Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) and Youth Justice NSW (YJNSW), and the NSW Ministry of Health to prevent and control COVID-19 in our settings.

COVID-19 cases in NSW custodial population

This data will be updated fortnightly.


A range of measures are in place for Justice Health NSW staff, other workers and patients across custodial settings and the Forensic Hospital. These include:

  • all adults and young people entering custody are offered COVID-19 vaccination
  • frequent environmental cleaning and access to hand sanitiser
  • training in the use of Personal Protection Equipment for CSNSW and YJNSW staff
  • up-to-date health promotion and education to staff and people detained in secure settings around hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, and reminders to alert their nurse or manager if they become unwell.

Managing suspected and confirmed cases

Any inmates or patients who are suspected cases are being immediately isolated and given a mask to prevent transmission, while they undergo any necessary testing, treatment and monitoring.

Any custodial or health staff and cleaners entering the room of a potential or confirmed COVID-19 case wear appropriate PPE, including masks, eye protection, and disposable gloves and gown to protect themselves and prevent spread of the disease.

In the Forensic Hospital, any positive cases are managed in consultation with the population health team and in line with Justice Health NSW, State and national guidelines.

Vaccination Program

Justice Health NSW encouraged all patients, CSNSW, YJNSW and its own staff to get vaccinated when vaccines became available. It is now mandatory for health care staff to be vaccinated.

Since March 2021, all inmates and detainees in NSW publicly-run correctional and youth detention settings have had access to a COVID-19 vaccination in line with advice from the Commonwealth Government and Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). A major vaccination program has quickly brought vaccination rates in line with the general population.

Our Aboriginal Strategy and Culture team, and other Aboriginal staff in our clinical teams, have provided guidance and advice on the vaccination roll out. COVID-19 vaccine information is tailored and provided with messaging and graphics relevant to Aboriginal patients before and at the time of vaccination. We ask Elders, families, and friends to offer encouragement to our patients to have a vaccine.

For information about our vaccination strategy during 2021, see the Network COVID-19 vaccine strategy

Aged and vulnerable inmates

Justice Health NSW has identified and is closely monitoring inmates and patients at increased risk from infection, including those with a history of chronic illness and the aged.

Justice Health NSW has also harnessed its adoption of virtual health care delivery, or telehealth, for inmates and patients, avoiding spread of infection from face-to-face visits with clinicians.

Visitors in custodial settings and the Forensic Hospital

Custodial settings: For further information, see: Visit an inmate (

Forensic settings: In-person visits to the Forensic Hospital in Malabar recommenced on 1 November 2021 under strict conditions, including that visitors are fully vaccinated, undergo screening procedures on entry and use PPE and follow COVID-19 hygiene rules. For further information, contact Justice Health NSW on 9700 3000.  Family and carers should contact their family member’s treating team.

Get tested if you feel sick

If you develop symptoms, even mild signs, go to a COVID-19 clinic and get tested, and self-isolate at home while you wait for your results. Symptoms include a fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, or loss of taste or smell.

More Information

More information, including visitor advice from our partner agencies, is available from the following links:

NSW Government COVID-19 advice, including current health alerts

Australian Government Department of Health

Corrective Services NSW