Overcrowding in Prisons: A Health Risk in Need of (Re)Consideration
Health Law Review (2013) Vol. 21(2), 33-38
6 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2014
Date Written: 2013
This commentary will consider two cases: a decision of South Africa’s Constitutional Court, and a Russian case heard by the European Court of Human Rights. In both cases it was argued that the conditions of overcrowding in the prison/detention facility had a direct and negative impact on the inmates’ health and well-being. The South African case of Lee v Minister of Correctional Services was the first Constitutional Court case in which it was argued that overcrowding in a prison facility adversely affects prisoners’ health rights. And, while the European Court of Human Rights has decided a number of cases on how overcrowding in prisons and detention facilities infringes on inmates’ rights to privacy and human dignity, the case of Kalashnikov v Russia was also the first case in which the health risks of overcrowding in prisons and detention facilities were highlighted, and it was demanded that the relevant authorities take responsibility to ensure that prisoners’/detainees’ health rights are met and their right to human dignity preserved.
Keywords: Overcrowding in prisons, South Africa, Russia, European Court of Human rights, South African Constitutional Court, Prisoner health and well-being, Health rights, Prisoners, Detainees, Right to Human Dignity
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