A Problem Gambling Treatment Project in a Prison Setting

In November 2014 the Statewide Gambling Therapy Service commenced a project funded by the Department for Correctional Services to deliver and evaluate an evidence-based problem gambling treatment program in a prison setting. Prisoners across four prisons in South Australian prisons participated. The project had two aims:

  • To deliver Cognitive Behavioural Therapy treatment to a range of prisoners across South Australia
  • To investigate the prevalence of problem gambling among a prison population.

Twenty-one prisoners participated in the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy program (18 males and 3 females). Outcomes showed that the program was successful in reducing gambling urges, improving psychological well-being and increasing self-efficacy.

A survey was conducted to investigate lifetime prevalence of problem gambling among a group of 105 incarcerated offenders. Data revealed lifetime prevalences of 52%, in addition 1 in 5 males reported that their current imprisonment was due to a gambling problem.

The Gambling Intervention Program

The Gambling Intervention Pilot was launched in July 2015. This is a joint collaboration with the Office for Problem Gambling, the Courts Administration Authority and OARS Community Transitions funded by the Gambling Rehabilitation Fund.

The Gambling Intervention Program is aimed at people who have been charged with a serious offence primarily linked to problem gambling. It provides the opportunity for these people to enter into a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy treatment program through the Statewide Gambling Therapy Service with the aim of overcoming their gambling addiction and reducing the likelihood of re-offending. Participation in the program will be taken into consideration in the Magistrate’s sentencing decision. Participants will also be offered support services such as financial counselling, housing and employment services through OARS. This program will run for a period of 12 months.

Chase your dreams, not your losses
The Statewide Gambling Therapy Service is provided by the Southern Adelaide Local Network, and is funded through SA Health
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