Health problems in Australian prisons, a concern

Australia’s prisons are hotspots for chronic disease and mental health problems, a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows.

Almost one-third (30%) of new prisoners have a chronic health condition or disability that affects their daily activities and their participation in education or employment.

The report, based on data from all prisons in all states and territories, shows that almost three-quarters of prisoners were current smokers when they entered prison, and a high proportion were misusing alcohol or illicit drugs.

During their incarceration, prisoners showed improvements in their self-rated mental and physical health, with 78% rating their mental and physical health good on release.

Indigenous prisoners were overrepresented, at 27% of the prison population.

 

Michael Woodhead