Locked up, locked out – inadequate stats on mental health are failing prisoners

The Guardian, 11 October 2017
Author: Mary O’Hara
“Prisoners are among the most vulnerable people with mental health problems, yet the government does not collect even basic information on how many inmates have a mental illness, or the total number in need of treatment. This means, according to campaigners, that they are being repeatedly let down by the system.”
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The health of prisoners: summary of NICE guidance

BMJ 2017; 356: j1378
Authors: Richard Bradshaw, Ben A J Pordes, Hannah Trippier, Nick Kosky, Steve Pilling, Fionnuala O’Brien
“Compared with the general population, adults in contact with the criminal justice system have higher rates of mental and physical health problems. Such people include those under arrest, in prison, on license, or serving a community sentence. Most live in the community or serve short custodial sentences, and will feature on the patient list of most general practices. Care for these people should be equivalent to that of people without a history of contact with the criminal justice system. There is little to suggest that, for most people, treatments that are effective in a non-criminal justice setting are not effective in the criminal justice setting.”
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Prisoners are excluded from the NDIS – here’s why it matters

The Conversation, 14 March 2017
Author: Jesse Young, Stuart Kinner
“The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is designed to provide access to personalised supports and services for all Australians with a disability. However, the NDIS specifically excludes prisoners.”
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Nurses should not participate in executions by lethal injection

The Conversation, 21 February 2017
Author: Roger Watson
“In some US states, prisoners condemned to die are killed using lethal injections. This takes place in two steps which make the prisoner unconscious and then stop breathing. Nurses are often present, but do they really need to be present? A group of senior nurses from the UK, Australia and the US recently debated this issue. They concluded that, unfortunately, the international nursing codes of ethics lacks sufficient detail to be helpful to nurses faced with the decision to take part, or not, in an execution.”
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Human rights violations in organ procurement practice in China

BMC Medical Ethics 2017 18:11
Authors: Norbert W. Paul, Arthur Caplan, Michael E. Shapiro, Charl Els, Kirk C. Allison, Huige Li
“Over 90% of the organs transplanted in China before 2010 were procured from prisoners. Although Chinese officials announced in December 2014 that the country would completely cease using organs harvested from prisoners, no regulatory adjustments or changes in China’s organ donation laws followed. As a result, the use of prisoner organs remains legal in China if consent is obtained.”
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For Seriously Ill Prisoners, Consider Evidence-Based Compassionate Release Policies

Health Affairs Blog, 6 February 2017
Authors: Brie Williams, Alex Rothman, Cyrus Ahalt
“There are powerful moral arguments for releasing some prisoners of very advanced age or with serious life-limiting illness. But compassionate release also makes sense from an economic and a public safety perspective.”
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HIV, prisoners, and human rights

The Lancet, 388, (10050), p1202–1214, 2016
Authors: Leonard S Rubenstein, Joseph J Amon, Megan McLemore, Patrick Eba, Kate Dolan, Rick Lines, Chris Beyrer
“Worldwide, a disproportionate burden of HIV, tuberculosis, and hepatitis is present among current and former prisoners. This problem results from laws, policies, and policing practices that unjustly and discriminatorily detain individuals and fail to ensure continuity of prevention, care, and treatment upon detention, throughout imprisonment, and upon release. These government actions, and the failure to ensure humane prison conditions, constitute violations of human rights to be free of discrimination and cruel and inhuman treatment, to due process of law, and to health. Although interventions to prevent and treat HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis, and drug dependence have proven successful in prisons and are required by international law, they commonly are not available.”
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First aid for mental health: A new approach in Pennsylvania’s prisons

CNN, 5 September 2016
Authors: Sarah Jorgensen, Brian Vitagliano, Bryce Urbany
“The investigation, which was closed in April, resulted in an overhaul of the department’s approach to mental health care.”The improvements we have seen since our February 2014 findings, together with [the department of corrections’] commitment to sustainable reform, give us confidence that the same pattern of practice of violations we found early in our investigation does not exist today,” the final report read.”
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