The purpose of this paper is to assess the health promotion needs of vulnerable young prisoners and the existing health promotion activities in custodial settings in seven European Union (EU) Member States.
The research comprised two components: the first involved identifying existing health promotion practices. The second involved mapping out young offenders’ health promotion needs by carrying out a needs assessment. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were adopted. The quantitative element comprised surveys among young prisoners and prison staff and focused on the availability and perceived importance of health promotion activities in prison. The qualitative element comprised focus groups with young offenders and individual interviews with prison staff, field experts and NGO members.
The findings from the research have identified a number of similar, but also some diverse areas of unmet need for health promotion activities in prison settings across these diverse seven EU countries. There is no consistency of approach within and between countries regarding health promotion policy, guidance, resources and programmes for young prisoners. In order to improve the health of young prisoners and to establish and increase sustainability of existing health promotion programmes, there is a need for the establishment of National and EU standards.
Providing health promotion activities for young prisoners while in custodial settings is key to addressing their unmet health and well-being needs and to facilitate their reintegration back into the community. Despite the barriers identified by this research, health promotion is to some extent being delivered in the partner countries and provides a foundation upon which further implementation of health promotion activities can be built especially when the benefits of health promotion activities, like dealing with the common problems of alcohol and drug addiction, mental health and communicable diseases are linked to successful reintegration.
The research upon which this paper is based has been supported by funding from by the Public Health Programme of the European Commission. However, the views expressed in this paper are those of the author and not necessarily those of the funders. The project partners who provided the data from the country Research Reports were: Dr. Caren Weilandt, Marion Grimm, Caren Wiegand from ‘WIAD‘ – Germany, Prof Morag MacDonald, Dr James Williams and Prof Fatemeh Rabiee from Birmingham City University – UK, Ivan Popov and ‘AVODP’ – Bulgaria, Dr Michaela Štefunková, Katerina Grohmannová, Burešová, Z, and Martin Bayer from the Centre for Addictology at Charles University in Prague and General University Hospital in Prague – in the Czech Republic, Kristina Joost and Latsin Alijev – NGO Convictus Estonia, Baiba Purvlice and Linda Pavlovska – Latvia's Association for Family Planning and Sexual Health – Latvia, Dr Anda Karnite, Riga Stradins University – Latvia and Dr Anamaria Szabo University of Bucharest, Romania. Our special thanks to Stavroula Bibila from Birmingham City University for her work in merging and analysing the quantitative data collected by partner countries and for her contribution to the combined report.
MacDonald, M., Rabiee, F. and Weilandt, C. (2013), "Health promotion and young prisoners: a European perspective", International Journal of Prisoner Health, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 151-164. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPH-03-2013-0014Download as .RIS
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