The prevalence of disease, malnutrition, mental illness and general ill health among the global prison population provides overwhelming and incontrovertible evidence that prisons are bad for your health. For many, imprisonment is marked by the deterioration in health and well-being– in some cases it is tantamount to a death sentence. The causes of poor prisoner health are multifarious. Prison populations typically comprise the most disadvantaged and marginalised sections of society who generally have a low health status. However, conditions of detention, combined with the associated problems of prison overcrowding and the high risk behaviours of prisoners in detention, not only increase morbidity and mortality rates, but they also accelerate the rate of transmission and progression of disease. These problems can be compounded by the limited access to appropriate and timely health care and treatment in prison, including the provision of health education and preventative programmes.
This briefing discusses the issues surrounding health in prisons.
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