Health After Release from Prison (HARP) cohort study

Project Details


The HARP study is the world’s largest prospective cohort study of adults released from prison. A total of 2,701 people were interviewed within 6 weeks of expected release from prison in Queensland and Western Australia. Survey data were combined with data from prison medical records, a range of state and Commonwealth health data and correctional records, using retrospective and prospective data linkage. The cohort includes >500 women and >1000 Indigenous Australians.

The overarching aims of the study are to:

  1. Provide a platform for describing the health-related trajectories of people who experience incarceration in Australia;
  2. Identify links between poor health outcomes and re-incarceration;
  3. Calculate the direct healthcare costs associated with poor health outcomes after release from prison.

The project goals are as follows:

  1. Compare the health-related experiences of Indigenous and non-Indigenous ex-prisoners in two Australian states, during the first two years post-release;
  2. Identify barriers to, and facilitators of, access to appropriate community-based health care for Indigenous and non-Indigenous ex-prisoners;
  3. Explore the health consequences of prisoners’ exclusion from Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), both in custody and post-release;
  4. Identify pathways linking health care utilisation, physical and psychiatric morbidity, mortality and recidivism among Indigenous and non-Indigenous ex-prisoners;
  5. Explore the impact of mental illness on physical health, health service utilisation and offending outcomes among Indigenous and non-Indigenous ex-prisoners.


Stuart Kinner

Jesse Young

Rohan Borschmann

Lindsay Pearce

Kathryn Snow

Alexander Love


Queensland Corrective Services

WA Department of Justice

University of Melbourne

University of Queensland

University of Western Australia




Research Group

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Health Equity

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