The AIHW currently collects data on the health of prisoners in Australia through a national survey of public and private prisons. Prisoners have higher levels of mental health problems, risky alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, illicit drug use, chronic disease and communicable diseases than the general population. This means that prisoners have significant and complex health needs, which are often long-term or chronic in nature.

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Latest findings

1 in 3 prison entrants had an education level of Year 9 or below

2 in 3 prison entrants used illicit drugs in the previous year

2 in 3 women in prison have a history of a mental health condition

More than 7 in 10 (72%) women entering prison had previously been incarcerated

Almost 1 in 5 (17%) women entering prison had a parent or carer incarcerated during their childhood

27% of women entering prison were in short-term or emergency accommodation in the 30 days prior to incarceration

More reports and statistics on prisoners can be found under Youth justice.