The Mortality After Release from Incarceration Consortium (MARIC) study: Strengths of international data linkage

Main Article Content

Rohan Borschmann
Stuart Kinner
Matthew Spittal


Adults released from incarceration experience complex physical and mental health problems, and are at markedly increased risk of preventable death. Despite this, not enough is known about the granular epidemiology of mortality in this population to inform development of targeted, evidence-based responses.

Objectives and Approach
We created the Mortality After Release from Incarceration Consortium (MARIC), a multi-disciplinary collaboration from 12 countries representing 30 cohorts of adults with a history of incarceration. The combined sample size is 1,210,168, with 58,840 deaths recorded over 8,261,743 person-years of follow-up time. In this protocol paper, using a two-step, individual participant data meta-analysis (IPDM-A) methodology involving 22 MARIC cohorts, we calculated 1) a crude mortality rate (CMR; with 95% confidence intervals) for each individual cohort over the first 84 days (12 weeks) following release; and 2) a combined, meta-analysed CMR for the same period.

Of 1,704,208 individual releases, we observed 4,018 deaths over the first 84 days. The overall CMR over the first 84 days after release was 1610.97 deaths per 100,000 person-years (95% CI: 1263.4 - 1958.5). The rate was highest on the day of release (5768.0; 95% CI: 3296.5 - 8239.4), which was significantly higher than on days 4-84.

Adults released from incarceration were at an acutely increased risk of death on the day of release, and this risk remained elevated for at least the first 12 weeks. The MARIC study will provide decisive and empirical evidence to guide clinicians and policy makers in reducing mortality in this marginalized


Despite an elevated prevalence of self-harm in the incarcerated adult population, little is known about patterns of self-harm following release from prison.

Objectives and Approach

Baseline self-report interviews with 1315 adults immediately prior to release from prison in Queensland, Australia, combined with interrogation of linked health data from >3750 post-release emergency department presentations, >2000 ambulance attendances, and corrections data during periods of re-incarceration.


Approximately 5% of all contacts with medical emergency services following release from prison resulted from self-harm. These were associated with being Indigenous, having a lifetime history of a mental disorder and having been identified by prison staff as being at risk of self-harm. Agreement between self-reported self-harm and medically-verified episodes of self-harm was poor.


Emergency services contacts resulting from self-harm following release from prison are common and represent an opportunity for tertiary intervention for self-harm. Our findings suggest that a self-reported history of self-harm should not be considered a reliable indicator of prior self-harm, or of future self-harm risk, in incarcerated adults.

Article Details

How to Cite
Borschmann, R., Kinner, S. and Spittal, M. (2018) “The Mortality After Release from Incarceration Consortium (MARIC) study: Strengths of international data linkage”, International Journal of Population Data Science, 3(4). doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v3i4.908.

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