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released: 10 Dec 2007

The prison population is known to have relatively poor health, with the poor mental health of prisoners a particular concern. A significant proportion of people in the prison system are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Despite the needs of prisoners, and the association between prisoners' health and the health of the wider community, there is remarkably little national information available on prisoners. Most health information is either collected through ad hoc surveys or is paper-based and remains in medical records. This report highlights the need for reliable national information about the health of prisoners at the point of reception, during custody, and at release and post-release. It contains a national audit of current health information collected by each jurisdiction, and lays the foundation for the development of national prisoner health indicators.

ISBN 978 1 74024 738 2; Cat. no. PHE 94; 71pp.; Internet Only

Full publication

Publication table of contents

  • Preliminary material
    • Half title and verso pages
    • Title and verso pages
    • Contents
    • Foreword
    • Acknowledgments
    • Abbreviations
    • Symbols
    • Summary
  • Sections
    1. Introduction
      • Origins of the National Prisoner Health Indicator Project
      • Project workplan
      • The National Health Performance Framework
      • This report
    2. Background
      • Prisoners
      • An overview of the prison system
      • Data collection points
    3. Reception
      • Reception assessment
      • Other reception collections
      • Current reception data collections
      • Summary of current health reception data
    4. Custody
      • Health status and outcomes (Tier 1)
      • Determinants of health (Tier 2)
      • Health system performance (Tier 3)
      • Summary of current custody data
    5. Release
      • In-reach services
      • Health related post-release programs
      • Discharge summaries
      • Community referrals
      • Community opioid substitution treatment referrals
      • Summary of current release data
    6. Post-release
      • Post-release mortality
      • Court diversion
      • Summary of current post-release data
    7. A way forward: towards a national prisoner health information collection
      • Why a national prisoner health information collection is needed
      • Current information sources and problems
      • Strategies to overcoming data constraints
      • Method of collection and setting
      • Development of indicators
      • Where to from here?
  • End matter
    • Appendix 1 Committee membership
    • Appendix 2 Prisoner health surveys
    • References
    • List of tables
    • List of figures

Recommended citation

Al-Yaman F & Belcher J 2007. Prisoner health in Australia: contemporary information collection and a way forward. Cat. no. PHE 94. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 22 December 2014 <http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=6442468048>.