Global Prison Health Care Governance and Health Equity: A Critical Lack of Evidence

Katherine E McLeod, Amanda Butler, Jesse T Young, Louise Southalan, Rohan Borschmann, Sunita Sturup-Toft, Anja Dirkzwager, Kate Dolan, Lawrence Kofi Acheampong, Stephanie M Topp, Ruth Elwood Martin, Stuart A Kinner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The large and growing population of people who experience incarceration makes prison health an essential component of public health and a critical setting for reducing health inequities. People who experience incarceration have a high burden of physical and mental health care needs and have poor health outcomes. Addressing these health disparities requires effective governance and accountability for prison health care services, including delivery of quality care in custody and effective integration with community health services.Despite the importance of prison health care governance, little is known about how prison health services are structured and funded or the methods and processes by which they are held accountable. A number of national and subnational jurisdictions have moved prison health care services under their ministry of health, in alignment with recommendations by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. However, there is a critical lack of evidence on current governance models and an urgent need for evaluation and research, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.Here we discuss why understanding and implementing effective prison health governance models is a critical component of addressing health inequities at the global level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-308
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


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