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Article
Publication date: 13 June 2016

Mark Pettigrew

– The purpose of this paper is to explore supposed inevitable personal decline for long-term prisoners, particularly those serving a sentence of life without parole.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore supposed inevitable personal decline for long-term prisoners, particularly those serving a sentence of life without parole.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the prison records of a life without parole sentenced prisoner.

Findings

Findings suggest that prisoner deterioration is not inevitable in a whole life prison sentence.

Research limitations/implications

Findings are based on one account, of a female prisoner.

Practical implications

Distinct services and support are required for those with a natural life prison sentence.

Originality/value

To date, there is limited research of prisoners serving life without parole, particularly the mental health implications of denying a prisoner future parole.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 21 September 2012

Morag MacDonald, Robert Greifinger and David Kane

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Book part
Publication date: 10 October 2014

Aleksandr Khechumyan

This chapter aims to demonstrate that the fundamental human rights principle that no one should be subjected to (grossly) disproportionate punishment should be interpreted…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter aims to demonstrate that the fundamental human rights principle that no one should be subjected to (grossly) disproportionate punishment should be interpreted to take into account terminal illness of the offender. It should be applied both during imposition of the sentences and also during execution of already imposed sentences.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to reveal whether this principle takes into account serious medical conditions, including terminal illness of the offender in the calculus of the proportionality of punishment and whether it is applicable at the execution stage of sentences, this chapter examined the roots of the fundamental human rights principle of proportionality of punishment by briefly surveying the penal theory, jurisprudence, court cases, laws, and legislative history from the U.S. federal and state jurisdictions and from Europe.

Findings

There is a consensus among surveyed theories that terminal illness of the offender is an element of the principle of proportionality of punishment. Thus the fundamental human rights principle must be interpreted to take it into account. The principle should be observed not only at the imposition stage, but also at the execution stage of already imposed sentences.

Originality/value

This chapter re-examines the roots of the fundamental human right to not being subjected to (grossly) disproportionate punishment. It does so in order to demonstrate that the right should be interpreted to take into account terminal illness of the offender and that it should be observed not only at the imposition stage, but also at the execution stage of already imposed sentences.

Details

Punishment and Incarceration: A Global Perspective
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-907-2

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Article
Publication date: 14 March 2016

Anya Sarang, Lucy Platt, Inna Vyshemirskaya and Tim Rhodes

The purpose of this paper is to analyze poor management of tuberculosis (TB) prevention and treatment and explore parameters and causes of this problem drawing on…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze poor management of tuberculosis (TB) prevention and treatment and explore parameters and causes of this problem drawing on qualitative interviews with former prisoners and medical specialists in Kaliningrad Oblast in Russia.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors undertook a qualitative study, to explore access to HIV and TB treatment for people who inject drugs in Kaliningrad. The authors interviewed (outside of prisons) 15 patients and eight health specialists using a semi-structured guide. The authors analyzed the accounts thematically and health consequences of imprisonment emerged as a major theme.

Findings

Prisons are overcrowded and lack basic hygiene and infection control. Demand for medical services outstrip supply, HIV and TB prevention lacking, HIV and TB treatment is patchy, with no second-line drugs available for resistant forms. The prison conditions are generally degrading and unhealthy and many respondents perceived surviving prisons as a miracle. Cooperation with medical services in the community is poor.

Research limitations/implications

The authors used qualitative research methods, which do not rely on a representative sample. However, many of the structural barriers preventing effective TB treatment and prevention highlighted in this paper have been noted elsewhere, suggesting that findings are likely to reflect conditions elsewhere in Russia. The authors tried to include all possible points of view, as of the medical staff and the patients. However, due to resistance of the officials the authors were unable to conduct interviews with employees of the FCS. Since all the interviews are recalling past experience, the situation may have changed. This does not undermine importance of the findings, as they shed light on particular treatment experiences, and development of prison health system.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the literature on prisons as a contributor to TB epidemic, including drug resistant forms. An urgent penitentiary reform in Russia should focus on HIV and TB prevention, case detection, availability of medications and effective treatments. Key to decreasing prison population and improving health is political reform aimed at introduction of effective drug treatment, de-penalization and de-criminalization of drug users and application of alternatives to incarceration.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2008

Rick Lines

This paper explores the health rights of prisoners as defined in international law, and the mechanisms that have been used to ensure the rights of persons in detention to…

Abstract

This paper explores the health rights of prisoners as defined in international law, and the mechanisms that have been used to ensure the rights of persons in detention to realise the highest attainable standard of health. It examines this right as articulated within United Nations and regional human rights treaties, non‐binding or so‐called soft law instruments from international organisations and the jurisprudence of international human rights bodies. It explores the use of economic, social and cultural rights mechanisms, and those within civil and political rights, as they engage the right to health of prisoners, and identifies the minimum legal obligations of governments in order to remain compliant with human rights norms as defined within the international case law. In addressing these issues, this article adopts a holistic approach to the definition of the highest attainable standard of health. This includes a consideration of adequate standards of general medical care, including preventative health and mental health services. It also examines the question of environmental health, and those poor conditions of detention that may exacerbate health decline, disease transmission, mental illness or death. The paper examines the approach to prison health of the United Nations human rights system and its various monitoring bodies, as well as the regional human rights systems in Europe, Africa and the Americas. Based upon this analysis, the paper draws conclusions on the current fulfilment of the right to health of prisoners on an international scale, and proposes expanded mechanisms under the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment to monitor and promote the health rights of prisoners at the international and domestic levels.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2002

Phillip Vaughan and Susan Stevenson

An opinion survey of mentally disordered prisoners was undertaken to ascertain their views on the responsiveness of mental health and criminal justice services to their…

Abstract

An opinion survey of mentally disordered prisoners was undertaken to ascertain their views on the responsiveness of mental health and criminal justice services to their perceived needs while in the community.The findings reveal that their illness and offending behaviour were not deemed serious enough to warrant intervention by forensic psychiatric services but their needs were too complex for mainstream community care services. They felt vilified and marginalised by many professional workers and were unlikely to seek help themselves. Psychiatric intervention was therefore usually precipitated by a crisis. Hospital and prison aftercare was not always pursued, leading to deterioration in mental health and/or offending behaviour, followed by further detention.The authors argue the need to broaden the referral criteria of community agencies to avoid excluding MDOs. They make a number of recommendations to ensure this vulnerable group receives adequate ongoing care and support following release.

Details

The British Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6646

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2007

Garry Eckstein, Michael Levy and Tony Butler

The poor health of prisoners was highlighted in the results of two comprehensive health surveys conducted with prisoners in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.The capacity…

Abstract

The poor health of prisoners was highlighted in the results of two comprehensive health surveys conducted with prisoners in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The capacity of a dedicated service to address the health needs of prisoners was tested through analysis of the health of two prisoner cohorts: a continuously serving cohort, and a cohort of prisoners who had been incarcerated and released during the period of interest, 1996‐2001. It appears that mental health services best addressed the needs of a stable prisoner population. Short‐stay prisoners do not gain any degree of benefit. Primary health and drug and alcohol services address the needs of prisoners less effectively, irrespective of their duration of stay. Women’s health was very poor on all measures that were assessed. With the exception of mental illness, the health inequalities that prisoners experience are not addressed by existing prisoner health services. This may be due to the magnitude of the burden of ill health among prisoners, or due to inadequate resources ‐ or some combination of both. While these results should not be taken as supportive of coercive institutionalisation (i.e. imprisonment) as a therapeutic option, there may be benefit in more humane and compassionate institutions for some of society’s most vulnerable individuals. The results highlight the potential for prisoner health service providers in redressing years of health neglect and the low levels of service utilisation by this group while in the communi

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2007

Norbert Konrad, Julio Arboleda‐Florez, Alan D. Jager, Kris Naudts, Jose Taborda and Nicoleta Tataru

It is basically a primarily legal philosophical and political problem whether or not mentally disordered persons “belong” in prison. Countries applying the construct of…

Abstract

It is basically a primarily legal philosophical and political problem whether or not mentally disordered persons “belong” in prison. Countries applying the construct of criminal responsibility or incompetence to stand trial can prevent mentally disordered persons from being imprisoned. Secure confinement can then be ordered in a forensic psychiatric institution, if necessary. Of course this principle does not prevent people from becoming mentally unwell when put in a prison environment, nor does the presence or a history of mental disorder automatically result in the absence of criminal responsibility. The still high prevalence of mental disorders in prisoners has been impressively demonstrated in more recent surveys. In a systematic review of 62 surveys from 12 different western countries including 22,790 prisoners (mean age 29 years, 81% men), 3.7% of the men had psychotic illnesses, 10% major depression, and 65% a personality disorder, while 4% of women had psychotic illnesses, 12% major depression, and 42% a personality disorder. In comparison to the general population, prisoners have an increased risk of suffering from a mental disorder that transcends countries and diagnoses. Psychotic disorders increase the risk of suicide, which as a rule is considerably higher in prisoners than in the general population. Suicide is the leading cause of death in penal institutions, especially during the early stages of confinement.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 3 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 12 March 2019

Nicolas Combalbert, Valérie Pennequin, Claude Ferrand, Moussa Keita and Brigitte Geffray

The purpose of this paper is to assess the level of perceived health and quality of life of elderly prisoners in France, and to see whether there is a link between aging…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the level of perceived health and quality of life of elderly prisoners in France, and to see whether there is a link between aging, time spent in prison and level of education and scores for perceived health and quality of life.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors’ recruited 138 male prisoners aged 50 and over in seven French prisons. The research protocol comprised a semi-structured interview and two scales.

Findings

The results revealed low levels of perceived health and quality of life among the elderly inmates. They also showed that age was not statistically associated with most of the dimensions of perceived health on the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP), with the exception of poor mobility. By contrast, age was statistically associated with most of the dimensions of quality of life on the WHOQOL-Bref. Time spent in prison was only associated negatively with the “sleep” dimension of the NHP. Emotional reactions were perceived most positively by the inmates with the highest level of education.

Practical implications

It seems particularly important to assess the perceived health and quality of life of elderly prisoners in order to ensure their appropriate treatment and management.

Originality/value

Very few studies have examined the perceived health and quality of life of prisoners, even though this population is particularly vulnerable in terms of physical and mental health.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2012

James Woodall

There is a strong political imperative to regard the prison as a key social setting for health promotion, but evidence indicates that drug misuse continues to be a…

Abstract

Purpose

There is a strong political imperative to regard the prison as a key social setting for health promotion, but evidence indicates that drug misuse continues to be a significant issue for many prisoners. This paper aims to examine the social and environmental factors within the setting that influence individuals' drug taking.

Design/methodology/approach

Focus groups and interviews were conducted with prisoners and staff in three male training prisons in England. The sampling approach endeavoured to gain “maximum variation” so that a broad based understanding of the prison setting could be gathered. The data were analysed in accordance with Attride‐Stirling's thematic network approach.

Findings

The findings suggest a myriad of social and environmental factors influencing drug use. While staff recognised the scale of the drugs problem, they struggled to cope with creative inmates who were not perturbed by taking risks to gain their supplies. Fellow prisoners played a major role in individuals' decision making, as did the boredom of institutional life and Mandatory Drug Testing (MDT) policies within the institutions.

Practical implications

Drug treatment is an essential component of prison healthcare, but it only forms a small part of creating a health‐promoting setting. If the health‐promoting prison is to be fully realised, a more radical, upstream and holistic outlook is required.

Originality/value

The settings approach is an important theoretical and practical approach in health promotion. In comparison to other settings (such as schools), however, there has been limited research on the prison as a health‐promoting environment.

Details

Health Education, vol. 112 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-4283

Keywords

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