Justice Health Group

Head: Professor Mark Stoové


Program Head: Professor Mark Stoove

Prisoners and ex-prisoners in Australia and elsewhere 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.

The Justice Health group undertakes innovative, scientifically rigorous and policy-relevant research projects that employ 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.


  • Build upon national and international collaborations to enable a central role in internationally significant studies that identify effective (evidence-based) interventions for improving and maintaining the health of justice-involved populations
  • Build and strengthen collaborations with correctional services nationwide, to facilitate translation of our research into effective health policy and service delivery
  • Undertake research to 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; and explore the links between health, social integration and offending behaviour.


  • Research led by former Burnet researcher, Associate Professor Stuart Kinner published in the Medical Journal of Australia estimated that the number of deaths in recently released prisoners in Australia is ten times higher than the total number of deaths in prison each year, highlighting the extreme vulnerability of this population on return to the community. This research demonstrates the urgent need to establish a national system for routing monitoring of ex-prisoner mortality, and for the implementation of evidence-based programs to reduce mortality and improve health outcomes for this profoundly marginalised group.

Staff Members

  • Ashleigh  Stewart

    Ashleigh Stewart
    PhD Candidate; Research Assistant

  • Professor Margaret Hellard AM

    Professor Margaret Hellard AM
    Deputy Director, Programs; Adjunct Professor, Monash University, DEPM.

  • Professor Mark A Stoové

    Professor Mark A Stoové
    Head of Public Health

  • Megan Sechtig

    Megan Sechtig
    Masters Student

  • Michael Curtis

    Michael Curtis
    PhD Student and Research Assistant

  • Professor Paul Dietze

    Professor Paul Dietze
    Co-Program Director, Disease Elimination

  • Associate Professor Peter Higgs

    Associate Professor Peter Higgs
    Burnet Senior Fellow. Senior Lecturer, Department of Public Health, La Trobe University

  • Doctor Rebecca Winter

    Doctor Rebecca Winter
    Deputy Head Justice Health Group

  • Doctor Shelley Walker

    Doctor Shelley Walker
    Research Officer