Condition category
Not Applicable
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
Disease frequencies and specific health issues of prisoners and refugees are poorly understood. Many individuals lack the opportunities to discuss their health issues and access to the healthcare system is limited. Physicians working at prisons and detention centres often speak of a "blind spot in society", as it is thought that certain chronic and psychiatric diseases are seen more frequently than the general population.

Currently, there has been no systematic investigation into the health issues of these inmates. Furthermore, little is known on how recent migration flows in Europe may have impacted the health conditions of inmates in recent years.

The aim of this study is to establish an international health registry with detailed data on the health and well-being of the incarcerated population.

Who can participate?
Inmates from the police prison in the Canton of Zurich, Switzerland

What does the study involve?
The study will gather anonymised health-related data from prisoners during their stay in prison.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
There are no individual benefits or risks involved in this study. All extracted data is anonymised and therefore cannot be traced back to an individual. On a larger scale, the study will contribute to the understanding of public health problems among prisoners in general.

Where is the study run from?
Police Prison Zurich (Switzerland)

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
From January 2015 to December 2020

Who is funding the study?
This is an investigator-initiated trial.
The study is funded by the Waltraud und Gertraud Siegenthaler Foundation and Ida Herzog-Egli Foundation (Switzerland)

Who is the main contact?
Dr. Thomas Gaisl

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Thomas Gaisl


Contact details

Rämistrasse 100
+41 44 255 11 11

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number

Nil known number

Nil known

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

The Swiss Prison Study (SWIPS) in north-central Switzerland: a public health registry



Study hypothesis

1. The disease profile of inmates substantially differs from that of the general population. Specifically, certain chronic and psychiatric diseases are disproportionately prevalent among inmates and refugees.
2. A large number of drugs (e.g. psychotropic substances) may be used “off label” and the origin of the inmates and the refugee route respectively may have an impact on the disease profile of the affected.
3. Recent geopolitical changes significantly affected the overall disease profile of inmates in the prisons.

Ethics approval

Approved 05/08/2019, the Cantonal Ethics Committee Zurich (Stampfenbachstr. 121 Postfach, 8090 Zurich, Switzerland; +41 43 259 79 70;, ref: 2019-01055

Study design

Observational study - Health registry

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Epidemiological study

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet

No participant information sheet available


Health data of inmates (police prison) from the Canton of Zurich, Switzerland


This is a cross-sectional observation among approx. 50’000 to 60’000 prisoners in Switzerland. Health-related data such as age, sex, country of origin, duration of imprisonment, medication (incl. drug name, brand, dosage, release), medical history (incl. ICD-codes of all diagnosis and external results which are part of the medical history in prison) will be deposited in a central register over five years (2015-2020). Corresponding health data (incl. as age, sex, medication, medical history) will be gathered from a representative local resident population for comparison. The local resident population will be matched for age and sex. This data will be provided by the insurance companies and will be de-identified.

Intervention type



Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Prevalence of diseases according to ICD-codes among prisoners using cross-sectional data from medical records of all prisoners from 2015 to 2020

Secondary outcome measures

1. Compare the disease prevalence (ICD-codes) of the inmates against a representative sample from the local resident population, using cross-sectional medical records from all inmates at the police prison Zurich from 2015 to 2020.
2. Longitudinal changes in the disease prevalence (ICD-codes) from 2015 to 2020 using cross-sectional medical records from all inmates at the police prison Zurich.

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

Inmates from the police prison in the Canton of Zurich, Switzerland

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants

50,000 - 60,000 inmates

Participant exclusion criteria

Unwillingness to participate

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment


Trial participating centre

Police Prison Zurich
Kasernenstrasse 29

Sponsor information


University Hospital of Zurich

Sponsor details

Rämistrasse 100
+41 44 255 11 11

Sponsor type

Hospital/treatment centre



Funder type


Funder name

Waltraud und Gertraud Siegenthaler Stiftung

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Funder name

Ida Herzog-Egli Stiftung

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Data is planned to be published in peer-reviewed journals from 2020.

IPD sharing statement:
The anonymised datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study will be available upon request from Dr. Thomas Gaisl, No consent from participants was obtained.

Intention to publish date


Participant level data

Available on request

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes

21/05/2020: The following changes were made to the trial record: 1. The protocol number was added. 2. The recruitment end date was changed from 01/04/2020 to 01/12/2020. 01/04/2020: Trial’s existence confirmed by the Cantonal Ethics Committee Zurich.