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

More than 1 in 3 people in prison are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples

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

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

2 in 3 (65%) women reported that they had received a mental health diagnosis before entering prison

Almost one-quarter (24%) of women entering prison were unemployed in the 30 days prior to incarceration

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

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