Good governance for prison health in the 21st century. A policy brief on the organization of prison health (2013)




2013, viii + 32 pages
ISBN 978 92 890 0050 5

Against the background of concern about ministerial responsibility for the health of prisoners in Europe, members of the WHO European Network on Prison and Health asked the WHO Regional Office for Europe to issue a document on the governance of prison health. Members of the Network and a special Expert Group on the Stewardship of Prison Health contributed to this document.

The document reviews the reasons for the conclusion that prison health is public health, describes the legal cornerstones of prison health and the principle of equivalence and integration that should underlie it, lists the persistent shortcoming of current arrangements and spells out the meaning of good governance for prison health in the 21st century. The Expert group drew two conclusions about institutional arrangements for prison health:

  • managing and coordinating all relevant agencies and resources contributing to the health and well-being of prisoners is a whole-of-government responsibility; and
  • health ministries should provide and be accountable for health care services and advocate healthy conditions in prisons.

Such governance would be in accordance with and supportive of the new European policy for health, Health 2020, and lead to better health and well-being for prisoners as part of better public health.