This book outlines important suggestions by international experts to improve the health of those in prison and to reduce both the health risks and risks to society of imprisonment.

27 May 2014

Some six million men and women are imprisoned in the WHO European Region every year. Most of these prisoners are from poor and vulnerable communities. Prisons are not healthy places. Communicable diseases are frequently transmitted among prisoners, and the rates of HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis are much higher among them than in the general population.


There is also a high prevalence of mental health problems, including substance abuse disorders, and a higher prevalence of noncommunicable diseases. Unhealthy conditions such as overcrowding and poor hygiene are common in many prisons. Prison health is part of public health and prisons are part of our society. One third of prisoners leave prison every year and the interaction between prisons and society is huge. We have to ensure that prisons are not becoming breeding places for communicable and noncommunicable diseases, and we must also seek to use the experience of imprisonment for the benefit of prisoners and society.

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