Posted Oct. 2000. Last Updated April 2014
This paper was written around 1979-80 and published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, Vol. 1 (1), 1980, p.64.
From the Outback
Since A. W. Clark and I produced the monograph 'Fraser House' in 1969, I have moved to private practice in Cairns, North-East Australia. This is an isolated area for this country, but is rapidly becoming an intercultural front door to Melanesia and Asia.
'Up North' the therapeutic community model has extended into humanitarian mutual help for social change. Two of the small cities in this region have self-help houses based on Fraser House (eds., Mackay & Cairns). An Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug hostel is moving in the same direction, as are other bodies.
These are facilitated by a network called UN-Inma, the second work of which is aboriginal for Oneness. Actually, aborigines have discussed offering one of the Palm Island group off the North Queensland coast as a model therapeutic community prison.
The Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology has the support of the United Nations Secretary-General for the idea of an international island haven for otherwised condemned political prisoners. Our proposal is an application and extension, in which the Institute Director is 'extremely interested.'
The main conditions sought by the indigenous group are that selected aborigines in Australian prisons also be permitted to complete their sentences on such islands; and that therapeutic self-management with conjugal rights be the administrative model.
One of our major next steps is to bring together a psychosocial evaluative research team to monitor the development of this regional community movement. Such may take some time as social scientists are fairly uncommon in the area (eds. such a research team was set up by Dr Yeomans and others in the early 90's and findings are emerging - refer Laceweb Home Page.
Some years ago, I arranged a cost-benefit analysis of Fraser House, compared first with traditional Admission unit in another psychiatric hospital, and second with a newly constructed Admission unit which some felt might be a pseudo therapeutic community.
Somewhat to my surprise Fraser House was not only more effective but cost less than the other two. The traditional unit was next cost-effective and the 'pseudo' unit least. Unfortunately this report was never publically circulated. Until recently I was unable to locate a copy. One has now been found and it seems I may soon have a manuscript.
101 Woodward Street
Links to other Laceweb sites: