Women’s health in prison. Correcting gender inequity in prison health






In 1995, the WHO Regional Office for Europe launched the Health in Prisons Project, supported by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Health and Prisons in the Department of Health, United Kingdom. The Project works within a network of countries committed to protecting and promoting health in prisons in the interests of prisoners, of staff and of public health. Representatives from the ministries responsible for health in prisons in about 36 countries in the WHO European Region attend the annual conference and network meeting of the Project. The network combines shared experience with expert advice to produce guidance for countries wishing to improve health care and circumstances in their prisons and, in particular, to develop their role in preventing the spread of disease. The network aims to maximize an important opportunity for promoting health in a marginalized group and contributing to general public health in their communities. At the request of the Member States involved, the WHO Health in Prisons Project, together with partner organizations and experts and with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Quaker Council for European Affairs, the Quaker United Nations Office, the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, the AIDS Foundation East-West and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, has reviewed all issues affecting women’s health in the criminal justice system and has especially considered the gross inequities in women’s health in prisons. The Project has adopted the enclosed declaration and background paper as evidence fully justifying the recommendations and call for action in its conclusion.