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PHA Calls For Better Inmate Accommodation

PHA Calls For Better Inmate Accommodation

26 October 2005

The Public Health Association (PHA) is urging the Government to take action to ensure all inmates are appropriately accommodated. The plea comes after reports that prison inmates are being held in vans parked in public streets because of lack of space in prisons.

“Offenders have the right to safe and humane containment, and holding them in vehicles is simply not acceptable,” says PHA Director Dr Gay Keating.

“Prison inmates have higher rates of depression, and alcohol and drug dependence than the general population, and putting them in these highly stressful situations will only exacerbate these conditions.”

Dr Keating says that as well as causing stress, overcrowded conditions encouraged infectious diseases and other illnesses.

“There is an outcry over the conditions in which battery hens are kept – here we seem to have battery people.”

She said that imprisonment should be seen as a punishment of last resort.

“Offending is often linked to drug and alcohol issues, and by imprisoning people you make it more difficult for them to access treatment services. Offenders have the right to the same level of health care that they would receive in the community, and to live in a safe and secure environment.”

ENDS


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