Maintenance Notice

Due to necessary scheduled maintenance, the JMIR Publications website will be unavailable from Wednesday, July 01, 2020 at 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM EST. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Who will be affected?


Currently accepted at: JMIR Research Protocols

Date Submitted: Aug 30, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: Aug 30, 2020 - Oct 25, 2020
Date Accepted: Oct 25, 2020
Date Submitted to PubMed: Oct 27, 2020
(closed for review but you can still tweet)

This paper has been accepted and is currently in production.

It will appear shortly on 10.2196/23973

The final accepted version (not copyedited yet) is in this tab.

An "ahead-of-print" version has been submitted to Pubmed, see PMID: 33099459

Warning: This is an author submission that is not peer-reviewed or edited. Preprints - unless they show as "accepted" - should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.

Protocol of the Swiss Prison Study (SWIPS): a large-scale public health registry in north-eastern Switzerland

  • Thomas Gaisl



Health aspects, disease frequencies, and specific health interests of prisoners and refugees are poorly understood. Importantly, access to the healthcare system is limited for this vulnerable population.


Currently, there has been no systematic investigation to understand the health issues of inmates in Switzerland. Furthermore, little is known on how recent migration flows in Europe may have impacted the health conditions of inmates in recent years. We therefore planned a large-scale observational study to establish a public health registry in northern-central Switzerland.


Demographic and health-related data, such as age, sex, country of origin, duration of imprisonment, medication (including the drug name, brand, dosage, and release), medical history (including the ICD codes for all diagnoses and external results that are part of the medical history in the prison) will be deposited in a central register over a span of five years (April 2015 to April 2020). The final cohort is expected to comprise approximately 50,000 to 60,000 prisoners from the Police Prison Zurich (PPZ), Switzerland. The primary objective is to establish a central database to assess disease prevalence (i.e., ICD codes) among prisoners. The secondary objectives include the following: (1) to compare the 2015 to 2020 disease prevalence among inmates against a representative sample from the local resident population; (2) to assess longitudinal changes in disease prevalence from 2015 to 2020 using cross-sectional medical records from all inmates at the PPZ; and (3) to identify unrecognized health problems to prepare successful public health strategies.


The study will be conducted with the highest respect for individual participants according to the Declaration of Helsinki, the European Convention on Human Rights, the Swiss Federal Act on Research involving Human Beings (HRA), and according to this study protocol. This study will construct a valuable database of health-related information regarding inmates and refugees and will act as a groundwork for future interventions in this population. Findings will be disseminated through scientific articles as well as presentations and public events.


None Clinical Trial: ISRCTN registry (


Please cite as:

Gaisl T

Protocol of the Swiss Prison Study (SWIPS): a large-scale public health registry in north-eastern Switzerland

JMIR Preprints. 30/08/2020:23973

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.23973


PMID: 33099459

Download PDF

Request queued. Please wait while the file is being generated. It may take some time.

© The authors. All rights reserved. This is a privileged document currently under peer-review/community review (or an accepted/rejected manuscript). Authors have provided JMIR Publications with an exclusive license to publish this preprint on it's website for review and ahead-of-print citation purposes only. While the final peer-reviewed paper may be licensed under a cc-by license on publication, at this stage authors and publisher expressively prohibit redistribution of this draft paper other than for review purposes.