Health problems of prisoners are widespread exacerbated by rising prison populations. Young prisoners have needs distinct from other prisoners, are more disadvantaged than their counterparts in the community and show negative impacts on their health. There is a clear need for prisons to respond with health promotion interventions to address health inequalities endorsing the principle that time spent in custody should aid disease prevention and promote health.
The project Health Promotion for Young Prisoners (HPYP) aims at developing and improving health promotion for young vulnerable people in the prison setting. It specifically aims at the subsequent implementation of a health promotion toolkit for young prisoners widely across European Member States. The toolkit addresses health related factors regarding infectious diseases, sexual health, mental health as well as the prevention and treatment of drug use.
In line with the aims and objectives of the second Health Programme and the annual work plan 2009, the general objective of the current project proposal is to develop and improve health promotion (HP) for young vulnerable people in the prison setting. It specifically aims at the subsequent implementation of a health promotion toolkit for young prisoners widely across European Member States. The toolkit addresses health related factors regarding infectious diseases, sexual health, the prevention and treatment of drug use, addresses the initiation of drug use in prison, mental health as well as tuberculosis. The target groups include young people (up to 24 years old) in pre- and sentenced prisons, including particular vulnerable groups like women, migrants and ethnic minorities.
The project involves seven countries from old and new Member States (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, England, Estonia, Germany, Latvia and Romania) and brings together a multi-disciplinary network representing a range of different professional groups and practitioners working inside and outside prisons
Using a participatory approach, the development of the toolkit on health promotion will be based on the views and needs of vulnerable young people in prison as well as on those of prison staff and representatives from non-governmental organisations as possible deliverers of health promotion in custodial settings.
An extensive literature review and document analysis of existing policies, protocols and toolkits will be undertaken by each partner in its country in order to establish what current practice exists in providing health promotion for young prisoners.
An assessment of young prisoners’ specific needs and demands as regards health promotion in the prison environment as well as a needs assessment of prison staff and NGOs on their current role in health promotion and their needs for delivering health promotion in prison will be conducted. Furthermore, focus groups with young prisoners and semi-structured in-depths expert interviews with professionals in the field are part of the methodology.
The toolkit will have both a short-term impact and longer-term health outcomes including changes in individual health behaviours and skills of young prisoners. The toolkit will encourage prison administrations to implement interventions and support changes in the prison policy to include HP as an integral part of health delivery. By addressing the health of young people in custody, the project will have positive implications for the health of the citizens in the wider community.
The results will be transferable and assist EU prison authorities in tailoring their policies, strategies and interventions according to their specific needs and meet the policy requirements of EU drug policy, HIV Action Plan 2005-09, European Pact for Mental health and Wellbeing and Green Paper regarding the educational disadvantage of many migrant children and the associated risks for social exclusion (2008). Comprising international exchange of expertise, the comparative approach of the project will have more impact on EU level than single national activities.