Justice Health

More than 36,100 people were imprisoned in Australia as of September 2015. This is an increase of more than 2,000 people over the past three years, according to an Australian Bureau of Statistics report.

An additional 59,900 people were serving community-based corrections orders as of September 2015, an increase of 3,900 people in the past one year.

Prisoners and ex-prisoners in Australia and globally are disproportionately affected by social disadvantage, chronic ill health and preventable disease (including blood borne and sexually transmitted infections), mental illness and high rates of substance misuse – often a continuation of problems experienced prior to imprisonment.

Burnet Institute undertakes research to build the evidence base for policy and practice to improve health outcomes for prisoners and ex-prisoners.

This group undertakes innovative, scientifically rigorous and policy-relevant research projects. They use a range of methodologies including prospective cohort designs, randomised controlled trials and record linkage to enhance the evidence base for justice health policy and practice.

National and international collaborations enables Burnet Institute to play a central role in internationally significant studies that identify effective (evidence-based) interventions for improving and maintaining the health of justice-involved populations.

Building and strengthening collaborations with correctional services nationally is also a priority to facilitate translation of Burnet’s research into effective health policy and service delivery.

Our researchers explore how health, health risk behaviours, psychosocial adjustment and engagement with health services change and are impacted by contact with, and release from, the criminal justice system. They also explore the links between health, social integration and offending behaviour.

Current Projects

  • Breaking the cycle: supporting people with drug use histories to avoid reincarceration

  • The elimination of hepatitis C as a global public health threat

Past Projects

  • PATH Cohort Study