In Finland, the health of female offenders has never before appropriately researched. Prison studies elsewhere show that female prisoners often have more health problems than male prisoners. Especially mental disorders, infectious diseases and illicit drug use are common among female inmates. The majority of prisoners are men and most prison studies have not taken gender differences into account. The aims of the present dissertation were as follows: to find out the prevalence of hepatitis and HIV infections and their risk factors among Finnish female prisoners; to assess the frequency and gender differences in childhood abuse and the connections between maltreatment in childhood and substance abuse and mental health; to study lifetime somatic diseases, the use of health care services and prescription medicines; to assess the work ability and employment history and need for treatment of female prisoners, and compare all the results to those of male prisoners.
This dissertation is part of a national prison health survey 2006. Data collection was between October 2005 and October 2007; the majority of the data was obtained in 2006. The material of the present study consisted of 101 females and 309 male prisoners for purposes of comparison.