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Chronically Ill Prisoners Face Great Healthcare Problems

e encouraged and supported to manage their own health within the constraints of the prison regime and to become more aware of their own health needs.

They also maintain that improving the health of prisoners may also help to reduce re-offending rates and problems such as drug abuse when they leave prison.

Prisoners’ health is an international issue, they add.

'Some of the prisoners who took part in the study had experienced confinement in other countries, such as South Africa and Thailand, where healthcare was far less formalised than UK services, which are now overseen by the Department of Health rather than the Prison Service' says Dr Powell.

'We also discovered during our background research that specific healthcare issues differ between countries. For example, tuberculosis is highly prevalent in Russian prisons, HIV is higher in African prisons than elsewhere and same-sex relationships - consensual and non-consensual –are higher in prisons in America than in Europe or Australia.'

All the prisoners who took part in the survey were volunteers who responded to a poster campaign. Prison staff excluded any prisoners whose participation posed a risk to the physical or mental health of the prisoner or the research team and the researchers – Louise Condon and Francesca Harris - then chose ten prisoners at random from each prison’s list.

The study, which was funded by the Department of Health’s Policy Research Programme, was led by leading nursing researcher Gill Hek, who died after a sudden illness in November 2006.

'Gill was a great nurse and a great researcher' says Dr Powell. 'This paper is an important part of her considerable legacy to nursing research and its publication would not have been possible without the major contribution she made to this important research project.'

Source-EurekalertSRM/B
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