Australian Institute of Criminology

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'Of fences and offences' : prisoner health

74 Leichhardt Street, Griffith, ACT
03 July 2008

Associate Professor Michael Levy MBBS, MPH, FAFPHM
Director, Corrections Health Program, ACT Health

Synopsis of presentation

Australia has more than 27,000 adult detainees. The national incarceration rate is 130 per 100,000 adult population, but this conceals large variation between jurisdictions. The rate of increase of 7% per annum is one of the highest among OECD countries, and exceeds that of the United States. The health of Australian prisoners is extremely poor. An increasing body of research is describing this disadvantage. However, there are very few intervention studies in the health literature. The impact of prisons on communities has attracted some attention in the broader health and social science literature. With the commissioning of the Alexander Maconochie Centre in August 2008, there may be an opportunity to observe whether positive impacts can be assessed, and negative impacts measured and mitigated.

About the speaker

Michael Levy is the Director, Corrections Health Program, ACT Health, 2007 to the present. He served as Director, Centre for Health Research in Criminal Justice, Justice Health during 2004-07, and as Clinical Director, Population Health, NSW Corrections Health Service from 1998 to 2004. Michael has had conjoint appointments with the School of Public Health, University of Sydney and the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine Monash University. He also worked with the World Health Organization during 1995-97, and was Convenor of the First National Tuberculosis Conference (Public Health Association of Australia) in 1994. Michael has also been a short-term consultant for tuberculosis control in Kiribati, Burma, Papua New Guinea, China and the Philippines. He was appointed to the Board of the Australian Respiratory Council in 1998 and is Vice-President.