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Study of the Health Care Provision, Existing Drug Services and Strategies Operating in Prisons in Ten Countries From Central and Eastern Europe

NCJ Number
Morag MacDonald
Date Published
195 pages
This study reviewed health care services in 2 sample prisons in each of 10 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, with attention to inmate drug treatment and the compliance of these services with current Council of Europe and World Health Organization guidelines as well as the national strategies of each country.
The 10 countries studied were Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The information and observations presented in this report stemmed from the author's visits in 2003 to at least two prisons in each country and interviews with representatives of nongovernmental organizations that were providing drug treatment services to inmates. A chapter on health care, drug use, and communicable diseases in the general populations of the 10 countries notes that all of the countries are experiencing an increase in the prevalence of drug use, accompanied by concern that HIV is spreading among injecting drug users. Following an overview of the prison system in each of the 10 countries, key issues for the prison administrations of the 10 countries are identified. The two primary problems are the increasing number of drug abusers in prisons and the high incidence of hepatitis and, in some countries, of HIV among inmates. A chapter on health care services in prisons addresses its structure; inmates' access to health care; confidentiality; its equivalence with health care provided in the community; and cleanliness, hygiene, and food. The chapter on prevention and harm reduction focuses on information given inmates about drugs; harm reduction and communicable diseases; and the use of condoms, bleach to clean drug injection needles, needle exchange, and substitution treatment. A separate chapter describes drug strategies and treatment programs in prisons, followed by a chapter on the professional disciplines represented in the prison staff, staff training, and staff welfare. Recommendations are offered. 80 references and appended checklist used in the research