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.

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

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Latest findings

3 in 4 prison entrants are current smokers

People in the community were 2–4 times as likely as prison entrants to have seen doctor in the previous 12 months

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

25 women gave birth while in custody

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

More than half (54%) of women entering prison had at least 1 dependent child