Inadequate data collection prevents health planning for released prisoners

Kristy A Martire and Sarah Larney
Med J Aust 2009; 191 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2009.tb02854.x
Published online: 5 October 2009

To the Editor: Compared with the Australian population, all-cause mortality rates among prisoners are four times greater among men, and eight times greater among women.1 Fatal drug overdoses and suicides comprise the overwhelming majority of deaths in post-release cohorts;2 hence, a large proportion of post-release deaths are preventable. However, the information necessary to determine appropriate public health responses to the issue of post-release mortality is largely absent, because there is no routine nationwide collection of numbers of prison separation episodes as there is, for example, for prison receptions.3

  • Kristy A Martire
  • Sarah Larney

  • National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.



The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre receives core funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. We thank Associate Professor Eileen Baldry for her comments on an earlier version of this letter.


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