Case study 4: Prisoner's health

Many prisoners experience significant challenges after their release from prison. These challenges may put ex-prisoners at a greater risk of suicide than the general population. However, we don’t know how many ex-prisoners die from suicide after they are released from prison. Nor do we understand if there are particular times after their release when ex-prisoners may be more susceptible to attempting suicide. The researchers found that the rate of suicide in adults released from prison is similar to the rate of drug-related deaths. In addition, there were more drug-related deaths in the first 1-2 weeks after release than any other time; this was not the case for suicide

How did the PHRN infrastructure help?
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare linked Queensland corrective services data to the National Death Index for the research team to analyse.

Spittal MJ, Forsyth S, Pirkis J, Alati R, Kinner SA.

Spittal MJ, Forsyth S, Pirkis J, Alati R, Kinner SA. Suicide in adults released from prison in Queensland, Australia: a cohort study. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2014 Oct;68(10):993-8. Accessed 2 September 2016 <>