Prisoners increasingly likely to die after release

An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare study shows that Australian prisoners are “12 times more likely to die in the first four weeks after release than their peers in the community”, six times more likely to die in the first year—and the rate has been increasing over the last decade. The report suggests that drugs and suicide are two significant causes of post-release death. The University of Melbourne’s Stuart Kinner said, “A prison sentence in Australia is never meant to be a death sentence… but people released from prison remain at increased risk of death indefinitely”. Victorian prisons offer transition programs to assist people returning to the community, to improve their health and to reduce reoffending; however, increasing prison populations are putting those schemes under strain.