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Prison Health Research

Our Department has a program of research on the health and health care of people who experience imprisonment in Canada. Our work in this area involves partnership, collaboration, and consultation with persons with lived experience of incarceration, governmental authorities, and non-governmental stakeholders, as well as researchers in other disciplines at McMaster and researchers in other institutions.

In this program of research, we focus on the prevention of incarceration, improving health care in prisons, and supporting continuity of health care on release.

Current projects:

  • A project funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada called C-CHANGE (the Canadian Correctional Health information for Action Group Endeavour), which aims to expand health surveillance for the population incarcerated in Canadian federal prisons, in partnership with the Correctional Service of Canada and the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance System, and supported by a Project Advisory Committee. Embedded research includes a mixed methods study to understand stakeholders’ needs and priorities for health surveillance.
  • A study funded by the Canadian Research Initiative on Substance Misuse (CRISM) exploring opioid toxicity deaths between 2015 and 2020 and opioid agonist treatment prescribing between 2015 and 2018 for persons in provincial correctional facilities in Ontario
  • A project to generate evidence on sexual, reproductive, and maternal child health of incarcerated Indigenous women through a scoping review, quantitative and decolonizing qualitative (arts-based) methods. Learn more:

Select recent projects:

  • A scoping review and critical analysis of the evidence for trauma-informed care in primary care and correctional health settings, with a report on recommendations and opportunities to support trauma-informed care in the prison setting.
  • A global systematic review on the health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people who experience imprisonment
  • A knowledge translation project, funded by the Canadian Research Initiative on Substance Misuse (CRISM), to support buprenorphine/naloxone treatment access in correctional facilities
  • A study on the overrepresentation of persons who are Black in Ontario provincial correctional facilities
  • Studies on antenatal care and birth outcomes for females who experience incarceration in Ontario, funded by the Regional Medical Associates of Hamilton
  • A project describing the health care utilization of persons released from Ontario provincial correctional facilities in 2010, including work on primary care use and attachment, emergency department use, and hospital readmission, funded by the Physicians’ Services Incorporated Foundation

Program Lead

Fiona Kouyoumdjian


Assistant Professor

Research Director

Program Team

Kate McLeod

Postdoctoral Fellow

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