Efforts to prevent criminal behaviour and reduce the over-representation of Indigenous Australians behind bars through community spending carry a significant health benefit, reports the Australian Medical Association (NSW) in a media release in May 2012.
“From a health standpoint the Justice Reinvestment Campaign is something that should be strongly supported,” said AMA (NSW) President, Dr Michael Steiner.
“Incarceration has serious implications for people’s health, including an increased risk of suicide – especially directly after release,” Dr Steiner said.
“Statistics show prisoners are more likely to smoke, use illicit drugs and engage in risky drinking behaviour than the rest of the population and time spent in prison can compound these significant health issues.
“Furthermore, drinking, smoking and using illicit drugs carry long-term health implications that can result in severe chronic illness.
“Efforts to keep people out of prison in the first place should be commended on a health basis alone,” Dr Steiner said.
“In this case the aims of the Justice Reinvestment Campaign are trying to address an important social issue as well,” Dr Steiner said.