Treating co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness among Indigenous people released from prison will increase life expectancy, reduce incarceration, and contribute to Closing the Gap

  • Research program: Justice health
  • Project status: Current
  • Start date: July 2022
  • Expected end date: June 2024
  • Completion date:
  • Funded by: Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Indigenous Justice Research Program
  • Lead organisation: Curtin University

This project involves secondary analysis of globally unique data from the Health After Release from Prison (HARP) cohort study, a multi-jurisdictional, prospective cohort study that includes 1000 Indigenous women (n=250) and men (n=750) followed for more than 7 years after release from prisons in QLD and WA. Rich

baseline survey and medical record data have been linked, retrospectively and prospectively, with state health and correctional records, and with national death records. We will follow the cohort for more than 7 years after release from prison, through linked health and correctional records. Our data analysis will be

guided and supported by consultations and focus groups with Indigenous people who have lived experience of incarceration. Our Aims are to:

1. Estimate the prevalence of substance use disorder, mental illness, and dual diagnosis among incarcerated Indigenous people.

2. Identify risk and protective factors for reincarceration among Indigenous people released from prison, with a focus on the impact of dual diagnosis and associated service system contacts.

3. Harness the expertise of Indigenous people with lived experience of incarceration, to facilitate interpretation and inform translation of our findings into policy and practice.

Name & Contact Details Role Research Program Location
Placeholder image

Dr Jocelyn Jones
Tel: 61 (0)8 9266 1616
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Chief Investigator

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health


  • Chief Investigator: Stuart Kinner, Curtin University
  • Chief Investigator: David Preen, University of Western Australia
  • Chief Investigator: Jesse Young, University of Melbourne
  • Chief Investigator: Edward Heffernan, Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research
  • Chief Investigator: Louise Southalan, University of Melbourne

This project aligns with the following Sustainable Development Goals and Targets: