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Full Access Prisoners Right to Healthcare, a European Perspective

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Prisoners Right to Healthcare, a European Perspective

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Abstract The right to healthcare applies regardless of a person’s legal status. Prisoners have a right to a healthcare equivalent to the one in the community at large: access to medical care and preventive measures of good quality and costs covered. States have a positive duty to provide for appropriate healthcare in prison, including harm reduction policies (for instance health screening, vaccination and needle exchange). Denial of access to appropriate health facilities to prisoners and other detainees is likely to result in bodily harm, unnecessary morbidity and avoidable death. Essential elements of the social right to care for the health of prisoners are protected through the positive obligations individual human rights impose on States (e.g., the right to life, the prohibition of torture, degrading treatment and punishment, the right to liberty and the right to private life). Health related human rights standards for prison healthcare have been formulated over worldwide and in Europe. The Council of Europe’s Committee of Prevention of Torture monitors the situation of prisoners in Member States. Still, healthcare for prisoners falls short of what is required. Prison healthcare is an essential part of public health. A major involvement of the Minister of Health is indispensable.

Affiliations: 1: Amsterdam Netherlands Lawh.roscamabbing@zonnet.nl

Abstract The right to healthcare applies regardless of a person’s legal status. Prisoners have a right to a healthcare equivalent to the one in the community at large: access to medical care and preventive measures of good quality and costs covered. States have a positive duty to provide for appropriate healthcare in prison, including harm reduction policies (for instance health screening, vaccination and needle exchange). Denial of access to appropriate health facilities to prisoners and other detainees is likely to result in bodily harm, unnecessary morbidity and avoidable death. Essential elements of the social right to care for the health of prisoners are protected through the positive obligations individual human rights impose on States (e.g., the right to life, the prohibition of torture, degrading treatment and punishment, the right to liberty and the right to private life). Health related human rights standards for prison healthcare have been formulated over worldwide and in Europe. The Council of Europe’s Committee of Prevention of Torture monitors the situation of prisoners in Member States. Still, healthcare for prisoners falls short of what is required. Prison healthcare is an essential part of public health. A major involvement of the Minister of Health is indispensable.

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/content/journals/10.1163/15718093-12341251
2013-01-01
2016-12-04

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