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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NT royal commission is the cost of failing to meet international standards on torture

The Conversation, 6 September 2016
Author: Adam Fletcher
“The ABC’s 7.30 program recently confirmed that harsh, and possibly illegal, treatment of young detainees in Australia is not confined to the Northern Territory when it broadcast images of alleged abuse in a centre in Townsville. Evidence of inappropriate treatment from a centre in Tasmania has also come to light.”
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The End of the Open Market for Lethal-Injection Drugs

The New Yorker, online 21 May 2016
Author: Lincoln Caplan
“Last week, the global drug company Pfizer announced sweeping new restrictions on the distribution of seven of its products, preventing them from being used to carry out the death penalty. Pfizer came into possession of those products, which include sedatives, paralytics, a pain medication, and a drug used to prevent or treat low levels of potassium in the blood, when it acquired the pharmaceutical company Hospira, in September. Its decision is an enormously significant one for the death penalty in the United States, and ends a long and chaotic chapter in which governments, drug companies, and activists worldwide have gradually closed the open market for the federally approved drugs that have been used for lethal injections.”
Find article here.  Find Pfizer statement here.

Decriminalizing Mental Illness — The Miami Model

N Engl J Med 2016; 374:1701-1703 May 5, 2016DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1602959
Author: John K. Iglehart
“U.S. correctional institutions, local courts, and police officers frequently encounter people with untreated or undertreated serious mental illnesses, often coupled with substance-use disorders. These encounters usually stem from the alleged commission of a misdemeanor — trespassing, panhandling, petty theft — or a minor, nonviolent felony. Each year, about 11.4 million people are booked into local U.S. jails, where on any given day, 745,000 of them are held. An estimated 16.9% of jail detainees have a serious mental illness,1 which means that nearly 2 million people with such illnesses are arrested each year.”
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How the justice system fails people with disability—and how to fix it

Ockham’s Razor, ABC Radio National, 18 April 2016
Author: Eileen Baldry
“More than 30,000 Australians are imprisoned every year. Many have disabilities, many are Indigenous—and the system cannot cope. Eileen Baldry argues the problems are both predictable and preventable, and outlines a plan to begin fixing them.”
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Mental health care in French prisons

The Lancet, Volume 387, No. 10028, p1592, 16 April 2016
“Last week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a disturbing report, Double Punishment: Inadequate Conditions for Prisoners with Psychosocial Disabilities in France. It describes the deplorable conditions that prisoners with severe depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia experience, and the lack of adequate mental health care in French prisons.”
Find editorial here.