Investigating mortality among ex-prisoners in queensland: A data linkage study (2007–2008)
Studies in Australia and elsewhere have identified a heightened risk of death among ex-prisoners, with drug overdose, suicide and 'accidents' three major causes. Many deaths occur soon after release. Although the high incidence of 'overdose' among ex-prisoners is often attributed to reduced tolerance,most fatal drug overdoses are due to the combined effects of multiple drugs. A detailed understanding of deaths among ex-prisoners is a prerequisite for evidence-based preventive strategies.
The proposed study will:
(a) Link the identities of prisoners released from custody in QLD between 1994 and 2006, with the National Death Index (NDI). The linked database will permit exploration of the incidence, timing, causes and risk factors for death among ex-prisoners.
(b) Compare correctional records of deceased ex-prisoners and a random sample of ex-prisoners known to be alive, focussing on suspected risk factors including criminal history, behaviour in custody, health status, psychosocial adjustment, socio-economic status, and history and treatment for drug use. This will allow more detailed analysis of risk factors for death post-release.
(c) Conduct in-depth analysis of causes of death among ex-prisoners, using the National Coroners Information System (NCIS). Information regarding cause and context of death will be coded by a research assistant and analysed to identify group differences (e.g., between ATSI and non-ATSI ex-prisoners).