Flanders launches study on prison health
The government of Flanders has commissioned a study into the health of prisoners in order to implement health-related projects in the future
Setting up health projects for prisoners is difficult, said Dana Mariën, policy co-ordinator at the prison in Beveren. “There are many non-Dutch speakers, underprivileged people and very different levels of education,” she said.
But , according to Mariën, prison life does have a clear effect on health. “Prisoners have little control over their diet and exercise little, so they often gain weight,” she explained. “The stress also worsens their smoking habit. All of these aspects have to be taken into consideration in the development of a health policy.”
Ghent University put the study together for the prisons of Dendermonde, Antwerp, Turnhout, Bruges, Beveren, Hoogstraten and a yet unknown seventh prison. The survey will examine the knowledge, attitude and behaviours associated with health, including smoking, nutritious food, exercise, mental health and sexual health.