Toward healthy prisons: the TECH model and its applications

Michael W. Ross (Professor of Public Health at the School of Public Health, University of Texas, Houston, Texas, USA)
Amy Jo Harzke (Based at the Medical Branch, University of Texas, Galveston, Texas, USA)

International Journal of Prisoner Health

ISSN: 1744-9200

Publication date: 21 September 2012



This paper aims to explore how the TECH Model (testing for and treating infectious diseases and vaccination; environmental modification to prevent disease transmission; chronic disease identification and treatment; and health maintenance and education) can be used for assessing and achieving healthy prisons.


This paper explores the concepts of “health in prison” and “healthy prisons” in the context of recent research and guidance. The paper then considers the TECH Model as an approach to achieving healthy prisons.


Under each of the four TECH Model domains are tasks to achieve a healthy prison. For prisons with poor or no resources, each domain contains steps that will improve prison health and move towards a healthy prison for both prisoners and staff. Implementation can thus be “low‐TECH” or “high‐TECH” depending on the setting and the available resources and the model is specifically designed to provide options for resource‐poor as well as resource‐rich correctional settings.


The TECH Model is a first step in characterizing the components of a healthy prison and the processes to achieve this. This Model could be implemented in all levels of prisons internationally.



Ross, M. and Jo Harzke, A. (2012), "Toward healthy prisons: the TECH model and its applications", International Journal of Prisoner Health, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 16-26.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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