ISBN: 978‐1‐74052‐300‐4

Australia - International Document

The Impact of Holyoake’s DRUMBEAT Program on Prisoner Wellbeing in Western Australian Prisons

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Coletsis C, Martin K, Tasker J, Wood L

Year of Publication:

University of Western Australia

Publication Type:


DRUMBEAT is an evidence-based intervention developed by the Holyoake Institute which aims to improve mental, social and emotional wellbeing within high risk populations. As part of the “Closing the Gap” initiative, Holyoake received funding from The Mental Health Commission, Western Australia (WA) and The Federal Department of Health to deliver and evaluate the DRUMBEAT program in WA prisons, with a particular focus on imprisoned Aboriginal people.

A mixed method was used to evaluate the series of DRUMBEAT programs and included prisoner surveys (incorporating validated measures) and semi‐structured interviews with prisoners, prison staff and DRUMBEAT facilitators. 114 prisoners completed the pre‐ and post‐surveys, 20 prisoners completed three-month follow‐up surveys and 31 prisoners were interviewed.

Results indicated that DRUMBEAT improved mental wellbeing, psychological distress and resilience of prisoners. It can be concluded from this comprehensive evaluation that the DRUMBEAT program was effective in this population in improving prisoner mental wellbeing in the immediate and longer term and in reducing psychological distress and increasing resilience in at least the short term. The strengths and potentially far reaching impact of the program highlighted in this report augur for ongoing support of the program in the Australian prison system.

Evidence Type: Non-Randomised Evaluation

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Research Purpose: Outcome Evaluation

Context: Forensic / Secure

Participant Group: Adults

Art Forms: Music

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Martin, K, Wood, L., Tasker, J. and Coletsis, C. (2014). The Impact of Holyoake’s DRUMBEAT Program on Prisoner Wellbeing in Western Australian Prisons. Crawley, Western Australia: The University of Western Australia