Comparison of social circumstances, substance use and substance-related harm in soon-to-be-released prisoners with and without intellectual disability

A Bhandari, Kate van Dooren, G Eastgate, Nicholas Lennox, Stuart Kinner

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Background: The transition out of prison is likely to be a challenging time for prisoners with intellectual disability (ID). However, little evidence exists to inform interventions for people with ID making this transition. In this study we aimed to describe social circumstances, patterns of substance use and substance-related harm in soon-to-be-released prisoners with ID. We compare this group with those without ID, to better understand how the health-related needs of this group compare with the mainstream prison population. Methods: Data came from face-to-face, confidential interviews with 1325 adult prisoners in seven adult prisons in Queensland, Australia. Prisoners with ID were identified using the Hayes Ability Screening Index (HASI). We used cross-sectional data to examine (i) demographics and criminographics; (ii) social circumstances; and (iii) substance use and substance use related harm. We compared characteristics of those with and without ID using univariable logistic regression. Results: Prisoners with ID (n=115) were more likely than their peers without ID to be male, to identify as Indigenous Australian, and to report low educational attainment (
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571 - 579
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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