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Asserting prisoners' right to health: progressing beyond equivalence

Exworthy, Tim, Samele, Chiara, Urquia, Norman and Forrester, Andrew 2012. Asserting prisoners' right to health: progressing beyond equivalence. Psychiatric Services 63 (3) , pp. 270-275. 10.1176/

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The concept of the “right to health,” regardless of a person's legal status, is a guiding force in establishing adequate standards of health care for all, including prisoners with mental illness. Prison health care in the United States, however, often falls below acceptable minimum standards. In the United Kingdom, the notion of equivalence has been the main driving force in improving prison mental health care. Although improvements have been made over the past ten years, demand for services continues to outstrip supply, as in the U.S. prison system. In both prison systems, prisoners often present with complex and multiple needs, much greater than those found in community samples. Even mental health care equivalent to that provided in the community falls significantly short of what is required. Further improvements to prison health care, therefore, remain a priority, and a more suitable model needs to be established and implemented. The authors propose an assertive application of a person's right to health with a well-defined framework for health care that is available, accessible, acceptable, and of good quality (AAAQ). The authors explore how the AAAQ framework can move beyond minimal or equivalent standards to deal with complex prison structures, meet health care needs, and measure progress more effectively. The AAAQ framework could lead to more equitable standards of health care that can be applied to international settings.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: American Psychiatric Publishing
ISSN: 1075-2730
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2021 15:00

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