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Correctional Health Care

ICPA supports that incarcerated persons retain their right to adequate physical and mental health care. They have the right to receive health care at least equivalent to that provided in the community. To ensure this, the prison administration and health services working in correctional facilities should ensure the following:

  • Security is paramount, but does not prevent the delivery of medically necessary care;
  • Prisoners have autonomy of health decisions and voluntary, informed consent guides prisoner healthcare delivery;
  • Prisoners have access to professional health care and treatment;
  • Prisoners have access to safe, clean water and proper, adequate nutrition;
  • The prison accommodation does not facilitate the spread of contagious disease or harbour unreasonable safety hazards;
  • Prisoners have access to hygiene items and sanitary facilities;
  • Prisoners receive and understand information on how to access to health services;
  • Health care is delivered by qualified persons under the supervision of a medical professional;
  • In addition to curative healthcare, preventive health and educational information are available;
  • All newly incarcerated persons are screened for contagious diseases in the shortest time possible, and segregated, if needed, for the time needed to avoid dissemination of infectious agents to other prisoners, staff or visitors;
  • All newly incarcerated people are screened for acute and chronic physical and mental health needs and disorders in the shortest time possible;
  • Prisoners with serious medical or mental health problems receive necessary care and treatment in an appropriate setting;
  • Accommodation arrangements are made for persons with disabilities;
  • Pregnant women receive adequate pre- and post-natal care and where possible give birth to the child outside prison; when a child is born in prison it is not mentioned in the birth certificate;
  • Each sick prisoner has the right to be seen by a qualified professional, even if in disciplinary or administrative segregation;
  • Emergency services are available at all times;
  • When specialised medical care is necessary and cannot be provided within the prison, incarcerated persons are transferred to hospitals or other suitable health centres;
  • Health professionals maintain confidentiality of the prisoner’s health information unless a risk is posed to others; and
  • To facilitate continuity of necessary care upon release from prison, health professionals coordinate services outside of prison and provide prescriptions or a few days of medication upon release if needed.

This Public statement of ICPA was agreed by the Board on 17 October 2014 and ratified by the ICPA members at the Annual General Meeting in Windhoek Namibia 28 October 2014