Prisoners: policy context


The national strategy for the Management of Offenders 2006 outlined nine offender outcomes which reflect the central belief that better health and well-being can contribute to a reduction in the rate of re-offending.

The ' Action Plan for Better Health Better Care ' recognises the poorer health of offenders and ex-offenders and that their care should be set within a wide ranging strategy for tackling health inequalities, particularly ensuring continuity of care in the transition between prison and the community.

The national strategy on health inequalities, ' Equally Well ' identified offenders and ex-offenders as a vulnerable group and underlined the principle that they 'should have access to the health and other public services they need and benefit from the same quality of service as the rest of the population'. It also set out the recommendation that 'those had engaged with 'Throughcare Addiction Services' are assessed for and able to access addiction and health services within six weeks of release from prison'.

The national alcohol strategy ' Changing Scotland's Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action ' outlined the Government's commitment to conducting a review of current plans and practice for the identification and treatment of offenders with alcohol problems in criminal justice settings and identify good practice.

On the 1st November 2011, responsibility for health care of all prisoners inScotland transferred from the Scottish Prison Service to the NHS.  Nine NHS Boards have prisons in their area with all NHS Boards having prisoners returning post release.  A National Prisoner Healthcare Network has been established, supported by Health Improvement Scotland.  It is a consortium of NHS Board Prison Health leads that, along with other partners, support the delivery of high quality, safe and integrated services to prisoners in Scotland.


United Nations Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners , Principle 9, 1990 states that 'health care in prison should be equivalent to that delivered in the community'.

Prison Health as part of Public Health Moscow Declaration 2003 argues that prison health should be an integral part of the public health system of a country.

Ottowa Charter for Health Promotion WHO 1986 sets out that the prison setting is potentially an opportunity for health promotion.