Health Without Barriers: The European Federation for Prison Health (HWBs)

Legal basis (mandates) and mission

HWBs is a new organization to be legally constituted in Italy in the coming months. The mission of HWBs is to promote prison health for the benefit of the general public through the promotion of good health care practices, ethical standards for the safeguard of human rights in prison, research and interdisciplinary collaboration in the field.

Topics of interest in the prison setting

  • Infectious diseases, including HIV and hepatitis C
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Mental health
  • Drug addiction
  • Human rights in prison

Strategic operations

  • Preparation of training materials and guidelines
  • Best practices, research and promotion
  • Working group facilitation
  • Organization of conferences
  • Development of ethical standards

Role in prisons

Specific objectives of HWBs in the field of prison health care and medicine are expressed in the organization's constitution.These include the following:

  • Promoting the exchange of scientific knowledge 
  • Promoting and publishing research
  • Fostering the health conditions of both inmates and staff in European prisons
  • Proposing scientific standards and indicators for implementation of prison health programmes
  • Organizing conferences and workshops with member organizations at the international level
  • Developing a conduct code and ethical principles for prison health practice
  • Disseminating information on best practices
  • Promoting collaboration and further partnerships with key European institutions active in the field of prison health
  • Building working groups on specific health topics
  • Promoting public awareness of prison health care issues
  • Developing training materials, packages and opportunities
  • Supporting public awareness on prison health care issues.

Target groups

  • National scientific societies
  • Health care practitioners
  • Policy-makers

Geographic region of focus