De-escalation

Our aim is to secure better outcomes for inmates by facilitating a collaborative process amongst key stakeholders, ensuring that inmate safety is emphasised. Clear and effective policies which mandate the use of safe restraint and de-escalation processes, are necessary to ensure further deaths in custody are prevented.

De-escalation can be defined as a ‘reduction of the level of intensity’ of stress and tension in adverse circumstances, particularly in scenarios involving authorities with coercive power. It can be achieved through the employment of tactics that aim to reduce tension between individuals, as opposed to physical control over one another. 

De-escalation should be utilised as an initial tactic before restraining techniques are implemented, to diffuse the tension which occurs in intense and adverse situations. De-escalatory processes involve listening and communicating with the target individual, which are safe and beneficial in the process of regaining control. 

However, in Australia, there has been a gradual decline in the focus of de-escalation procedures, emphasised by the lack of resources devoted to establishing sufficient training. De-escalation training programs across various states, which previously ran for several days, have been shortened to only one day of training. When contrasted with international de-escalation models, Australia requires a more proactive approach to ensure authorities are adequately trained to conduct de-escalation procedures effectively.

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