A study by researchers in Australia has found that young female prisoners face greater risk of early death than male prisoners of their age.
A new study by Azar Kariminia of the University of New South Wales and her colleagues has made this observation.
They analysed deaths among 85,203 adults with a history of imprisonment in New South Wales between 1988 and 2002.
They found that female prisoners were eight times more likely to die early than women in the general population of a similar age, while for male prisoners the risk was about four times greater than other men, reported the online edition of New Scientist.
Women under 20, multiple offenders and those imprisoned for property and violence offences were at particularly high risk, "because they are often heavily involved in drugs," Kariminia says.
People who had been hospitalised with mental illnesses while in prison were at twice as much risk of committing suicide, the researchers said.