In what’s thought to be an Australian first, a Victorian prison is trialling a support program specifically for gay prisoners.
The program has been developed in Ararat Prison, 200km west of Melbourne, and aims to break down homphobia, provide support for gay prisoners and discuss health issues for men who have sex with men.
Victoria Police Gay and Lesbian Liaison manager Sergeant Scott Davis and Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria director Anne Mitchell joined corrections officers at Ararat Prison three weeks ago to offer diversity training.
The medium security men’s prison has since recruited six volunteer staff to become sexual identity liaison officers (SILO) to take part in the program and combat homophobia inside the prison.
The program will include seminars for inmates to raise awareness on HIV and STIs as well as talk about anxiety and depression and provide support for inmates struggling with their sexuality.
If the pilot program is successful it will be rolled out in seven prisons across the state.
According to prison staff, feedback from inmates and prison staff has so far been overwhelmingly positive.

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