The Right to Health for Inmates in Zimbabwe’s Prisons

Executive Summary

Much research work has been conducted around the rights of prisoners and detainees the world over, Zimbabwe is no exception. On this basis, it is important that compliance to national, regional, and international standards on the rights afforded to prisoners are not only observed but also respected, protected and fulfilled. The Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) base this policy brief on findings from a research that was conducted in 2018, which looked into the rights of prisoners in Zimbabwe and the Government of Zimbabwe’s obligation to respect and attain the highest standards for persons regarded as prisoners. There are a number of reasons why prisoners should have the right to health. First, Estelle v Gamble held that deprivation of health care to a prisoner constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Second, provision of quality health care by the State is the only available option that a prisoner has. Third, provision of health care improves the health of a prisoner which in turn makes it possible for the prisoner to be reintegrated into society after serving their prison term. Finally, it helps contain the spread of diseases in prison. The right to health applies to everyone including prison inmates. Put differently, people who are in prison have the same right to health care as citizens in the outside community.

Source: Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU)

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