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A Prospective Cohort Study of Ex-Prisoners With a History of Injecting Drug Use



This study aimed to understand prisoner health needs and how they related to drug use, mental health, recidivism, and the continued cycling of high-risk populations through the justice system. It also aimed to identify the extent to which these were identified and appropriate responses integrated into pre and post-release care plans.

Interviews with 600 prisoners who had a history of injecting drug use were conducted in the weeks leading up to their release and then followed up three months, one year and two years after their release. Interviews covered demographics, drug use and treatment histories, pre and post-release service access and utilisation, criminal involvement and incarceration history, drug using risk behaviours and standardised measures of health.

Data collection also involved the collection of blood samples to examine the pre and post-release exposures to blood borne viruses, and record linkage to health and law enforcement databases complimented this data.

Conducted in collaboration with Justice Health (Victoria) and researchers from the University of New South Wales and Monash University, this project provided important insights to inform policy and practice to prevent ongoing morbidity and recidivism and re-incarceration in the population specified.

Abstract adapted from the Burnet Institute


Burnet Institute
Melbourne Office
85 Commercial Road
Melbourne Vic 3004
Ph: (03) 9282 2111


Last updated: 20 July 2017
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Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute