Sensitivity of a national coronial database for monitoring unnatural deaths among ex-prisoners in Australia

Andrews, Jessica Y., Forsyth, Simon, Wade, Jessica and Kinner, Stuart A. (2011) Sensitivity of a national coronial database for monitoring unnatural deaths among ex-prisoners in Australia. BMC Research Notes, 4 . doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-450


Author Andrews, Jessica Y.
Forsyth, Simon
Wade, Jessica
Kinner, Stuart A.
Title Sensitivity of a national coronial database for monitoring unnatural deaths among ex-prisoners in Australia
Journal name BMC Research Notes   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1756-0500
Publication date 2011-10-27
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/1756-0500-4-450
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 4
Total pages 4
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Formatted abstract
Background: The period immediately after release from custody is a time of marked vulnerability and increased risk of death for ex-prisoners. Despite this, there is currently no routine, national system for monitoring ex-prisoner mortality in Australia. This study subsequently aimed to evaluate the sensitivity of Australia's National Coroners Information System (NCIS) for identifying reportable deaths among prisoners and ex-prisoners.
Findings: Prisoner and ex-prisoner deaths identified through an independent search of the NCIS were compared with 'gold standard' records of prisoner and ex-prisoner deaths, generated from a national monitoring system and a state-based record linkage study, respectively. Of 294 known deaths in custody from 2001-2007, an independent search of the NCIS identified 229, giving a sensitivity of 77.9% (72.8%-82.3%). Of 677 known deaths among ex-prisoners from 2001-2007, an independent search of the NCIS identified 37, giving a sensitivity of 5.5% (4.0-7.4%). Ex-prisoner deaths that were detected were disproportionately drug-related, occurring within the first four weeks post-release, among younger prisoners and among those with more than two prior prison admissions.
Conclusions: Although a search of the NCIS detected the majority of reportable deaths among prisoners, it was only able to detect a small minority of reportable deaths among ex-prisoners. This suggests that the NCIS is not effective for monitoring mortality among ex-prisoners in Australia. Given the elevated rates of mortality among ex-prisoners in Australia and elsewhere, there remains an urgent need to establish a process for routine monitoring of ex-prisoner mortality, preferably through record linkage.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article # 450

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Public Health Publications
 
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