UK Collaborating Centre for WHO Health in Prisons Programme (European Region)

Legal basis (mandates) and mission

The WHO collaborating centres form part of an institutional collaborative network set up by WHO in support of its technical work. They provide services to WHO at country, regional and global levels and are involved in technical cooperation for national health development. WHO collaborating centres are required to participate in the strengthening of country resources and national health development via information sharing, service provision, research and training.

Topics of interest in the prison setting

At a European level, the UK Collaborating Centre for WHO Health in Prisons Programme (European Region) is interested in:

  • providing evidence and intelligence to inform and support the work of health service commissioners and service providers in prisons;
  • providing expertise on a broad range of health protection, health promotion and disease prevention activities, working closely with policy makers, commissioners and service providers as required;
  • supporting commissioners and providers of health and social care, in developing care pathways that account for the movement of people around the detention estate, and between the estate and the community;
  • providing a resource to support work on understanding and managing the health needs of people within the criminal justice system; and
  • undertaking research on aspects of public health in relation to detention.

Strategic operations

The Collaborating Centre has a number of specific tasks for the WHO Health in Prisons Programme (HIPP):

  • to facilitate achievement of HIPP's objectives;
  • to plan and, in collaboration with HIPP, organize an annual network meeting;
  • to be an active member of the WHO European Task Force on Prisons and Health;
  • to assist HIPP in giving technical support to Member States.

Role in prisons

The focus of the Collaborating Centre is to support the development of a European network to exchange experience, expert advice and promote innovation in addressing health and health care challenges facing prisoners and prisons. This is achieved by promoting health in prisons as part of the overall public health agenda and, crucially, advocating that health ministries should be responsible for commissioning prison health care as opposed to justice departments/ministries.

Target groups

All those in prescribed places of detention

Geographic region of focus

WHO European Region