The health of Australia’s prisoners 2018
People in contact with the criminal justice system often come from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds (AIHW 2019).
People in prison have higher rates of tobacco smoking and high-risk alcohol consumption than the general population (AIHW 2015) which are behaviours that are known to increase the risk of oral disease (AIHW 2020).
The health of Australia's prisoners 2018 presents the results of the 5th National Prisoner Health Data Collection (NPHDC) in Australia. The NPHDC is the main source of national data about the health of people in prison in Australia. Data for the NPHDC were collected in 2-week periods in all states and territories, except New South Wales.
During the 2-week NPHDC data collection period, one-quarter (25%) of prison dischargees said they had been diagnosed with a dental condition at some stage in their lives.
Similar to general practice in the community, prison clinics provide primary health care to people in custody. A visit to the prison clinic may be initiated by the patient (person in custody) or by clinic staff. During the 2-week NPHDC data collection period just over one-quarter (28%) of clinic visits were initiated by the patient. Patients were more likely to initiate clinic visits for dental conditions (70%) whilst clinicians were more likely to initiate clinic visits for pathology (83%).