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Seohyun Yoon 1 Article
Health inequalities of 57,541 prisoners in Korea: a comparison with the general population
Seohyun Yoon, Young-Su Ju, Jaehong Yoon, Ji-Hwan Kim, Bokyoung Choi, Seung-Sup Kim
Epidemiol Health. 2021;43:e2021033.   Published online May 6, 2021
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2021033
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
This study aimed to examine health disparities between prisoners and the general population in Korea.
METHODS
We sought to estimate the prevalence of 17 physical and mental diseases using the nationwide medication prescription dataset among the total population of prisoners (n=57,541) in Korea. Age- and sex- standardized prevalence ratios (SPRs) were estimated to compare the disease prevalence between the prisoners and the general population. The disease prevalence for the general population was calculated from the prescription dataset for a representative of the Korean population (n=926,246) from the 2013 Korean National Health Insurance Service-National Sample Cohort. Furthermore, the prevalence of these diseases was compared between prisoners and a low-income segment of the general population (n=159,781).
RESULTS
Compared to the general population, prisoners had higher prevalence of almost all physical and mental diseases, including hyperlipidemia (SPR, 20.18; 95% confidence interval [CI], 19.43 to 20.94), pulmonary tuberculosis (SPR, 9.58; 95% CI, 7.91 to 11.50), diabetes (SPR, 6.13; 95% CI, 5.96 to 6.31), cancer (SPR, 2.36; 95% CI, 2.07 to 2.68), and depression (SPR, 46.73; 95% CI, 44.14 to 49.43). When compared with the low-income population segment, higher prevalence were still found among prisoners for most diseases, including pulmonary tuberculosis (SPR, 6.39; 95% CI, 5.27 to 7.67) and depression (SPR, 34.71; 95% CI, 32.79 to 36.72).
CONCLUSIONS
We found that prisoners were more likely to be unhealthy than the general population, even in comparison with a low-income segment of the general population in Korea.
Summary
Korean summary
이 연구는 대한민국 재소자 전수(전국 총 52개 정부운영 교정시설 재소자 57,541명)를 대상으로 법무부 전체 구금시설 의료실태 현황조사 자료를 이용해 신체적∙정신적 건강상태를 파악하고자 하였다. 그 결과를 성∙연령별 표준화율을 적용해 일반인구집단의 국민건강보험공단 표본 코호트 자료와 비교했을 때 재소자들은 고지혈증, 폐결핵, 우울증 등 대부분의 질병에서 일반인구집단보다 더 높은 유병률을 보였다. 이러한 결과는 저소득 일반인구집단과의 비교에서도 유사하게 나타났다.
Key Message
This study aimed to assess mental and physical health conditions among the total population of 57,541 prisoners in all 52 government correctional facilities. And we sought to estimate age- and sex- standardized prevalence ratios to compare the disease prevalence between the prisoners and the general population. Prisoners were more likely to have most of physical and mental diseases (including hyperlipidemia, pulmonary tuberculosis, and depression) than the general population in Korea.

Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health