Australian prisoners reported health improvements by the time they are released from prison, according to the report released on Friday by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The report, "The health of Australia’s prisoners 2015," shows that the prisoners who have many health issues, including disability, mental health problems, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse come out healthier than before they were incarcerated.

The subjects consisted the entrants, 84 percent of prisoners currently serving their time and prisoners who have been emancipated. Seventy-four percent of prisoners are smokers, 69 percent of them smoke daily. Forty-nine percent of the prison entrants have been diagnosed with mental health disorders, such as inflicting self-harm or suicidal tendencies. AIHW states that 27 percent of them are on medication.

In prisons with smoking bans, 59 percent of prisoners say that they do not intend to smoke on release, whereas 73 percent of prisoners who came from facilities that allowed smoking would still smoke. Sixteen percent of all smokers from those prisons claim to smoke more now than they did on entry to prison.

Forty-one percent of dischargees diagnosed with mental problems thought that their mental health improved since entering prison. Fifty-one percent of the Indigenous prisoners are doing better, higher than the 38 percent non-Indigenous people discharged.

Additionally, 30 percent of entrants have chronic health conditions or disabilities that affected their education or employment. Fifty-one percent said that their physical health improved while in prison.

"Often the case is prisoners will come from fairly disadvantaged background,” AIHW Child Welfare and Prisoner Health unit head David Braddock tells Huffington Post Australia. “Some of them are saying health improves in prison because they're accessing health services they don't always get on the outside."

Braddock said that Australia has a responsibility over these health concerns. The figures should be enough to encourage the government or health departments to provide health information in prisons.

"This report is for policy makers to inform policy and decision making,” Braddock asserts. “Maybe there is an opportunity to get at people when they're in prison, to provide those health services and education about healthy behaviours and living."

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