Most European countries aren’t doing enough to address—and measure—the health of prisoners, the WHO concludes in a new report.
Overwhelming evidence shows that a range of health concerns—mental illness, substance dependence, HIV/AIDS, and noncommunicable diseases—affect prisoners disproportionately. But, while incarceration poses risks to health—including inadequate nutrition and exposure to violence—prisons also present important opportunities to promote health and risk reduction that need to be tapped.
Some recommended remedies:
- Health ministries, not ministries of justice, should manage health care responsibilities
- Ensure that testing is available, but not mandatory, for infectious diseases
- Make prison health part of the broader public health agenda