Healthcare challenges of incarcerated women in Australia: An integrative review

Christine Stewart, Sharon L Bourke, Janet A Green, Elianna Johnson, Ligi Anish, Miriam Muduwa, Linda K Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Despite the rise in numbers of incarceration women, disparities between health care services and access exist. The health needs of incarcerated women is complex and influenced by multiple social determinants of health.
Purpose: Explore the healthcare issues of incarcerated women within Australian Prisons.
Methods: Integrative review of the literature.Results: Incarcerated women represent a small proportion of the prison population within Australia, however, health outcomes are significantly impacted. Socioeconomic status, abuse (physical, emotional, sexual), previous incarceration, generational factors are some of the factors impeding the health of incarcerated women. Mental health, chronic disease conditions, maternal and child factors are significant health concerns of this vulnerable population. There is a disparity in health access and programs to improve their health outcomes. This paper explores the challenges impacting the health of incarcerated women.
Conclusions: Significant disparities exist in the access of health services available to incarcerated women. There needs to be more focus upon improving access to health services and health support programs to meet the complex health needs of incarcerated in Australia. Furthermore, there is a need for more primary health nurses to prevent and address the healthcare issues of this population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Healthcare
Issue number1
Early online date25 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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