AIHW Board AIHW senior staff Annual report Capability statement Collaboration Customer care charter FOI - freedom of information Indexed list of files Conferences & events Organisation chart Presentations Privacy of data Public consultation Public Interest Disclosure Strategic Directions 2011-2014 Tenders
By category Ageing, disability & carers Families & children Hospitals Housing & homelessness Indigenous Australians Population groups Risk factors, diseases & death Services, workforce & spending
By subjectAdoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular health Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases
Chronic kidney disease Chronic respiratory conditions Deaths Dementia Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition Health indicators Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Injury Life expectancy
Male health Mental health Mothers & babies National health priority areas Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Data Publications Contact AIHW
Publications CatalogueOrdering publicationsForthcoming publicationsOnline reportsRate our publication effectivenessSubscribe to release notices
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular health Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases Chronic kidney disease
Chronic respiratory conditions Corporate publications Data linkage Data standards Deaths Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition General practice Health indicators Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Indigenous housing
Injury Life expectancy Male health Mental health services Mothers & babies National health priority areas Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Subjects Data Contact AIHW
About AIHW data METeOR - metadata online registry Data by subject Catalogue of holdings of AIHW data Customised data analysis request Data linking Data standards Privacy of data
By subject Aged care Alcohol and other drugs Alcohol data sources Body weight data sources Cancer Children's headline indicators (CHI) National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse Chronic disease indicators Deaths
Disability Expenditure FHBH - Fixing houses for better health General practice (GP) data Hospitals Height and weight data sources Indigenous Australians International collaboration Maternity Information Matrix (MIM)
Medical indemnity Mental health National indicator catalogue National core maternity indicators (NCMI) Risk factors statistics Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) Tobacco data sources Workforce
In other sections Subjects Publications Contact AIHW
AACR ACFADD AHSAC AIHW Board AIHW Ethics Committee CKDMAC AODTS NMDS WG CMAG CSDWG CVDMAC HEAC HHIMG
IGIHM JJ RIG MHISSC NAGATSIHID NCIAG NCSIMG NDDWG NDIMG NHISSC NIAG NIRAPIMG NMDD
NMDS NMHPSC NOPSAD NPDDC NPHEP NPHIC PCDWG PDWG PHIDG PHIG REDWG Workforce committees YIAG
Education worksheets What's in the pipeline Subscribe to education notices Other educational links
Worksheets by subject All Latest Ageing Australia's health Australia's welfare Carers
Children & youth Disability Disease Drugs
Health Health prevention Indigenous Australians Injury
In other sections Subjects Data Publications Contact AIHW
Job vacancies How to apply for a position at the AIHW Conditions of employment Benefits of working for the AIHW Indigenous temporary employment register Temporary employment register Occupational Training Program Contact the People Unit Graduates
AIHW Access magazine Conferences & events Media releases Subscribe to release notices Media FAQ Media contacts
You are here:
Australia’s prisoners have high levels of mental health issues and risky health behaviours, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The health of Australia’s prisoners 2010 is the second AIHW report to examine prisoner health in Australia, using National Prisoner Health Indicators. It uses data from the National Prisoner Health Census, which was conducted over a two week period on all prison entrants, except those in New South Wales and Victoria (these jurisdictions will participate in the future).
The report shows that in 2010, over 30% of prison entrants said they had been told at some point in their lives before coming to prison that they had a mental health illness.
‘On entry to prison, almost one-fifth of new prisoners were referred to the prison’s mental health services for observation and further assessment,’ said AIHW spokesperson Tim Beard.
‘During the 2 week prisoner census period, almost 1 in 10 prisoners visited the clinic for a psychological or mental health issue, and 1 in 5 were taking medications for mental health issues.’
Prison entrants in Australia also reported a history of engaging in various risky health behaviours at greater rates than the general community, such as smoking tobacco, using illicit drugs, and drinking alcohol at high levels.
‘Four in five prison entrants were smokers, and three in four said they smoked daily, while more than half reported drinking alcohol at risky levels,’ Mr Beard said.
‘Two-thirds of prison entrants said they’d used illicit drugs in the previous 12 months, and over half had injected drugs at some time in their life.’
The physical health of prisoners was also highlighted as a major concern—over a quarter of prison entrants had a chronic health condition such as asthma, arthritis, cardiovascular disease or diabetes, and a further 35% had tested positive to hepatitis C.
Indigenous prison entrants reported higher rates of risky health behaviours (such as smoking and alcohol consumption) than their non-Indigenous counterparts. However they reported lower levels of mental health related issues and some chronic conditions.
There were almost 29,000 prisoners in custody in Australia at 30 June 2010.
More information on prisoner health can be found at: www.aihw.gov.au/prisoner-health/
The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.
Canberra, 28 September 2011
Further information: Mr Tim Beard, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1270, mob. 0418 271 395
For media copies of the report: Publications Officer (02) 6244 1032
Full report: The health of Australia’s prisoners 2010