Health After Release from Prison (HARP) cohort study
Professor Stuart Kinner
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:
- Provide a platform for describing the health-related trajectories of people who experience incarceration in Australia;
- Identify links between poor health outcomes and re-incarceration;
- Calculate the direct healthcare costs associated with poor health outcomes after release from prison.
The project goals are as follows:
- Compare the health-related experiences of Indigenous and non-Indigenous ex-prisoners in two Australian states, during the first two years post-release;
- Identify barriers to, and facilitators of, access to appropriate community-based health care for Indigenous and non-Indigenous ex-prisoners;
- Explore the health consequences of prisoners’ exclusion from Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), both in custody and post-release;
- Identify pathways linking health care utilisation, physical and psychiatric morbidity, mortality and recidivism among Indigenous and non-Indigenous ex-prisoners;
- Explore the impact of mental illness on physical health, health service utilisation and offending outcomes among Indigenous and non-Indigenous ex-prisoners.