Australian Institute of Criminology

Skip to content

Prisoner health

  1. Lake, Peter. 1990, Health Services for Prisoners in South Australian Police Custody, (August).

    Seven page report prepared for the SA office of the RCIADIC. Presents RC Research Unit data on deaths in custody and comments on them. Describes present health services and makes recommendations for changes regarding transport of prisoners, training of police, access to health services, etc. Concludes that Aboriginal organisations need to be consulted.

  2. Moore, Jacqueline. 1988, 'Prison Health Care: Problems and Alternatives in the Delivery of Health Care to the Incarcerated', in Current International Trends in Corrections: Selected papers from the Australian Bicentennial International Congress on Corrective Services, Sydney, January 1988, ed. Biles, David, The Federation Press, pp. 141-161.

    Suicide is the leading cause of death in jails and yet it is also the most preventable. Although it is impossible to know how many jail suicides are averted by prevention practices, suicide rates for jail populations throughout the country remain alarmingly high. While estimates of suicide rates for the general public range from 10 to 14 per 100,000 population, rates of 108 per 100,000 have been reported in jail populations (Heilig, 1973). Another high cause of mortality in prisons is related to trauma and violence such as self-mutilation, abuse or assault by other inmates, or trauma inflicted by the correctional officers.

  3. Tomasevski, K. 1992, Prison Health: International Standards and National Practices in Europe, no. 21, Helsinki Institute for Crime Prevention and Control (HEUNI), Helsinki.

    This is a very brief account of a study conducted by the Helsinki Institute for Crime Prevention and Control which is affiliated with the United Nations looking at deaths in prison. It looks at self- injurious behaviour and suicide and gives data from the former USSR, Germany, Canada and Great Britain. It notes that the most frequent cause of deaths in custody in all countries from which data had been collected was suicide, particularly vulnerable are prisoners awaiting trial, at the very beginning of their deprivation of liberty, and juveniles. Rules and procedures for investigating deaths in custody vary between countries. It also mentions ill-treatment of prisoners and notes the disappearance of descriptions of it from the survey with the exception of Turkey.

Recent publications