Health problems in Australian prisons, a concern

17 May 2016

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.


Last Reviewed: 17 May 2016
Reproduced with kind permission from Australian Doctor
Michael Woodhead

Michael Woodhead

Michael Woodhead has been a medical journalist for more than 15 years. A pharmacology graduate, he worked on medical newspapers in the UK, Hong Kong and New Zealand and worked as a reporter with Australian Doctor before helping set up 6minutes.