• Podsoc #15

Experiences of people with intellectual disabilities in prison:

In conversation with Kathy Ellem

Kathy Ellem talks to us today about the life stories of people with intellectual disabilities who have found themselves in the prison system. Their experiences highlight the vulnerability of these people and the personal and structural barriers they face.

Kathy Ellem BSocWk, PhD is a Research Fellow with the School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University. Her research interests include inclusive research methodologies, the life experiences of people with intellectual disability, disability advocacy and social work with families who have a member with a disability. Her PhD thesis was on the life stories of ex-prisoners with an intellectual disability.

She has practiced as a social worker in the disability field for many years and has been extensively involved in individual, citizen and systems advocacy. She also has a personal experience as a parent of two beautiful children, including a young man with an intellectual disability.

Recommended citation for this podcast– APA6th

Fronek, P. (Interviewer). (2012, July 5). Experiences of people with intellectual disabilities in prison: In conversation with Kathy Ellem [Episode 15]. Podsocs. Podcast retrieved Month Day, Year, from http://www.podsocs.com/podcast/experiences-of-people-with-intellectual-disabilities-in-prison/.

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  2. References


  • Ellem, K., Wilson, J., & Chui, W. H. (2011). Effective responses to offenders with intellectual disabilities: Generalist and specialist services working together. Australian Social Work. doi:10.1080/0312407X.2011.625433.


It is ironic that on the day of this interview, the new state government in Queensland cut funding to the community agency, Sisters Inside, that advocates for human rights of women in the criminal justice system and address gaps in the services available to them. Indigenous women are also overrepresented in Australian prisons.