This is the NSW part of an NHMRC-funded study of NSW and Queensland prisoners. Its aim was to study the sexual behaviour, health and attitudes of prisoners as a vulnerable population often omitted from community surveys even when outside prison, and to examine sexual issues in prison such as health service use, condom use, sex between inmates and sexual coercion.
- 1,118 men and 199 women in NSW were randomly selected in 2006 – 07 to participate in a computer assisted telephone interview. This is the first time telephone interviewing has been used in a statewide prison health survey.
- 18% men and 25% women were of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander background. More than half (58% men, 72% women) had Year 10 schooling or less. The most common offences were assault and property offences.
- In sexual identity and experience, female prisoners were very different from the general population (among whom <2% of women identify as bisexual). Male prisoners were much more similar to the general population.
- 14% men and 59% women said they had been ‘forced or frightened into doing something sexually that they did not want to do’ in their lifetime.
- Prisoners’ attitudes on sexual matters were similar to those of the general community, except that they were more likely to disapprove of abortion, and the men were much more likely to regard sex between men as wrong.