Adult male prisoners who have a history of aggressive behaviour (n = 600) will be recruited from at least 6 Correctional Centres and randomised to receive either n-3 LCPUFA or placebo supplementation for a 16-week duration. Treatment will be with either 1 g/day of n-3 LCPUFA (694 mg DHA and 397 mg EPA) or placebo capsules, which are a corn/soy oil blend and are identical in size and colour. The primary outcome measure is the Inmate Behavioural Observation Scale (IBOS): an objective measure of aggressive behaviour. Secondary outcome measures include questionnaires (including aggression, attention deficit disorder, impulsivity, depression/anxiety/stress scales), engagement in programmes, recidivism and quality of life. Baseline and post-intervention assessments include the IBOS, questionnaires and blood to measure the levels of n-3 LCPUFA.
To conclusively test the potential that increasing n-3 LCPUFA intakes can improve rates of prisoner aggression and associated mental health and violence-related social system management costs, we propose an adequately powered multi-centre, double-blind, randomised controlled trial, examining the effects of n-3 LCPUFA supplementation on aggressive behaviour in adult male prisoners. If successful, this study will inform prisoner policy with respect to nutrition and by inference contribute to a broader community approach to preventative mental health practices.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry (ANZCTR) ACTRN12618001665224 . Registered on 10 October 2018.