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

Specific factors

The government of Flanders has launched a study to assess the general health of prisoners in the region in order to obtain a health profile. The profile will be used to implement more effective health projects for prisoners 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.

Photo: Ingimage