Health Services

Those detained in prison, awaiting trial or under sentence, are practically prevented from choice of and access to health services.

The UN Standard Minimum Rules allows for those prisoners on remand to procure their own health services but  the reality is in many countries, those detained cannot afford to pay for regular health services and are dependent on the government provision.

Prison services have responsibilities  for sustaining the prisoner’s right to health.

The poor conditions of detention, often exacerbated by appalling overcrowding, inadequate professional medical staffing and health clinics and particularly for those on remand – uncertainty about the future, are key obstacles in sustaining the right to physical and mental health.

All too often the environment inside prisons increases the risk of disease and even death for those with already vulnerable health status.

Providing an environment where both the physical and emotional environment is humane and meets medical needs can dramatically reduce the risk of deteriorating health not only among prisoners but staff, visitors and the wider community.

Offenders with serious mental health problems, or who are addicted to drugs are often better dealt with in a non custodial environment such as a hospital, residential treatment centre or through community based supervision.

Further information
Human Rights and Health in Prisons: a review of strategy and practice by Penal Reform International . Click here.

WHO Health in Prisons Project (HIPP). Click here.

HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care, Treatment and Support in Prison Settings. Click here.