Improve prison health care in Canada, CMAJ editorial says

Canada needs to reform its patchwork system of prison health care that does not adequately care for prisoners' complex health care needs, argues an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

"What is desperately needed is a well-organized and coordinated system of health care, one that follows the offender from the start of his or her incarceration to release and successful return to the community," writes Dr. Ken Flegel, senior associate editor, CMAJ with Dr. Françoise Bouchard, former director general of health services, Correctional Services of Canada.

The health of many people in prisons is worse than in the general population, with a higher incidence of communicable diseases, and . However, health care is delivered in an ad hoc way and managed by prison executives.

"This level of care is too patchy for the real health needs of prisoners and puts unwarranted strain on all of the staff."

Most prisoners are eventually released back into the community; providing better health care will also benefit the families and the larger community that will need to care for them.

Several countries in Europe have improved prison health care in recent decades by employing their system to provide care.

"Ultimately, prison health care reform should include all jurisdictions involved in correctional services (federal, provincial and territorial) to bring a seamless approach and adequate health care to this population," conclude the authors.

More information: www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.130149

Related Stories

Overcrowding in prisons negatively affects health

date Nov 05, 2012

an issue in most prisons in Canada and other parts of the world—negatively impacts the mental and physical health of prisoners, states an article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Quality health care delivery key election issue, says CMAJ

date Apr 06, 2011

Delivering quality health care rather than health care sustainability is a key issue for Canada's federal election, and Canadians need a vision from federal leaders to radically transform our health care system, states an ...

Recommended for you

Noise from fireworks threatens young ears

date Jul 03, 2015

(HealthDay)—The Fourth of July weekend is a time for celebrations and beautiful fireworks displays. But, parents do need to take steps to protect their children's ears from loud fireworks, a hearing expert ...

Many new teen drivers 'crash' in simulated driving task

date Jul 03, 2015

(HealthDay)—Around four in 10 newly licensed teen drivers "crashed" in a simulated driving test, suggesting that many adolescents lack the skills they need to stay safe on the road, according to a new study.

Feeling impulsive or frustrated? Take a nap

date Jul 03, 2015

Taking a nap may be an effective strategy to counteract impulsive behavior and to boost tolerance for frustration, according to a University of Michigan study.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.