The Mum Shirl Unit (MSU) is named to honour the memory of Shirley Smith (22 November 1921 - 28 April 1998), better known as Mum Shirl. She was a prominent Aboriginal Australian and activist committed to justice and welfare of Aboriginal Australians. For this work she was awarded a Member of the British Empire (1975), and an Order of Australia (1985).
The Mum Shirl Unit (MSU) is the first purpose built high-dependency women's mental health unit in NSW Corrective Services specifically designed to address criminogenic factors related to at-risk female offenders. The 19 bed unit is directed toward providing safe and secure housing for female offenders with complex personality, developmental, psychological and psychiatric issues. The MSU utilises multi-disciplinary assessment, management and treatment.
The MSU aims to provide tailored intervention, coordinated case management, and progression planning of difficult female offenders who are 'at risk' and unable to be managed in the mainstream gaol. This is part of the Corrective Services NSW state-wide mental health, managing female offenders and suicide prevention strategies.
The MSU is based on the principles of the Good Lives Model addressing the treatment and management of risk (Risk, Needs, Responsivity) through the promotion of alternate pro-social behaviour expected and modelled in a therapeutic community environment (Social Learning Theory). Recognition of individual needs and current motivation (Stages of Change) are imperative to the identification of effective intervention for individual treatment targets.
The MSU consists of two separate and distinct areas: MSU West and MSU East, as well as providing the option of referrals for Day Program only participants.