Health status of prisoners in Canada: Narrative review.
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OBJECTIVE: To review the literature for quantitative research on the health status of persons in custody in provincial, territorial, and federal correctional facilities in Canada, and summarize recent evidence. QUALITY OF EVIDENCE: A search was performed in research databases and the websites of relevant Canadian governmental and non-governmental organizations for quantitative studies of health conducted between 1993 and 2014. Studies were included that provided quantitative data on health status for youth or adults who had been detained or incarcerated in a jail or prison in Canada. MAIN MESSAGE: The health status of this population is poor compared with the general Canadian population, as indicated by data on social determinants of health, mortality in custody, mental health, substance use, communicable diseases, and sexual and reproductive health. Little is known about mortality after release, chronic diseases, injury, reproductive health, and health care access and quality. CONCLUSION: Health status data should be used to improve health care and to intervene to improve health for persons while in custody and after release, with potential benefits for all Canadians.
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