Young professionals linking health and human rights

Young professionals linking health and human rights 24 October 2012

Reform of the penitentiary systems spreading best practices for dealing with prisoners having common diseases.

Health and human rights students from different universities and departments work in the elaboration of modules aimed to reform the penitentiary systems by improving health and human rights prisons conditions. The students work on voluntary basis under the direct supervision of health and human rights experts. At a second stage the initiative seeks to provide these students with the necessary practical expertise on how to implement those modules in countries, by taking them to field visits and providing them with the skills on how to build capacity on health and human rights instruments within prisons and strengthen collaboration among relevant ministries.

Imagine committed medical and law university students with a strong interest in health and human rights conditions in prison settings getting involved in a project aimed at reforming penitentiary systems by developing tools on specific health issues in prisons with the use of human rights instruments.

The students are guided by international experts on health and human rights throughout the entire process. The project is developed by the Institute for Health and Human Rights (University at Albany) in collaboration with the PAHO Human Rights team.
The idea is to engage medical and Law university students in the elaboration of modules aimed at raising awareness and making recommendations to relevant stakeholders on how to improve the penitentiary systems and public health as a whole by improving health conditions within prisons. These modules could thus help overcome existing shortcomings of penitentiary systems with regards to health.

The second stage of this initiative aims at engaging these students in field visits to Latin American countries with health and human rights experts to apply what they have learned, including attending meetings with government officials to provide them with knowledge on health and human rights issues in prisons. Students will thus gain practical expertise in the implementation of the modules. They will be trained on how to conduct capacity building workshops among different target groups, including persons deprived of liberty and how to strengthen dialogue among relevant ministries.

Six successful innovations and six innovative ideas were nominated for the 2012 Innovating Justice Awards held on 2 November 2012. We feature them in a series of insights on the HiiL website.

Read about this original innovative idea on the Innovating Justice website.