Prison Health & Rights Consortium

The Prison Health and Rights Consortium was initiated in 2018 by the European Prison Litigation Network and the Eurasian Network of People who Use Drugs (ENPUD) building on the general consideration that in order to promote and defend the right of people in prisons of Europe to access rights and health care services a dedicated advocacy approach is needed which takes into account the particular isolation of prisoners and the realities of the penitentiary systems.

The Consortium has reformed in 2022 with EPLN, the UnMode – Community Movement for Access to Justice, Harm Reduction International (HRI) and Health Without Barriers – the European Federation on Prison Health (HWB).

Through collective learning, enhanced cooperation and exchange of experiences, members of the Consortium, i.e. (former) prisoners, communities of people who use drugs (PUD) and people living with HIV (PLHIV) with experience of incarceration, human rights defenders, harm reduction activists, health professionals practicing in prison from European countries intend to:

  1. foster the alignment of care delivery and access to services in prison with those available in the community
  2. promote awareness on prisoners’ rights and the principles of equivalence and continuity of care between prison and the community at national and international level
  3. advocate for human rights protection, the independence of prison medicine and the integration of prison health care in the general health system as a condition for effective and qualitative access to care for people in prison.

The Consortium members consider these priorities to be essential, from:

  • a human rights point of view (the defense of rights of prisoners in general, and of vulnerable populations at risk of incarceration, in particular people who use drugs);
  • a harm reduction approach (reducing harmful consequences of drug policies and of the use of drugs in prison, including risks of ill-treatment and torture due to denial of comprehensive drug-addiction care after incarceration, and the prevention of overdose risk after release from custody);
  • a public health point of view for the fight against HIV/AIDS and other infections and the promotion and protection of the health of prisoners, of professionals working in prison and of the whole community).

The actions of the Consortium consist in

  1. the mobilization of communities of (former) prisoners, people who use drugs with experience of incarceration and human right defenders for carrying out community-led monitoring of violations of prisoners’ rights and judicial protection
  2. European and international level strategic litigation and advocacy aimed at including prison health in the public health debate and advocate for health, penal and penitentiary reforms respectful of fundamental rights of prisoners and vulnerable populations at risk of incarceration, in particular people who use drugs.

The Consortium is supported by Robert Carr Fund logo

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