Analysis Opinion

Africa: informal governance and healthcare access in prison

Does informal prisoner governance restrict or enhance prisoners’ access to healthcare?

Carole Berrih, a lawyer specialising in public law, is the director of Synergies Coopération. Her research focuses on the role of prisoners in the maintenance of order in Nigerian prisons.

ICPR and Prison Insider asked several experts worldwide to share their insights in the framework of the project Understanding and reducing the use of imprisonment in 10 countries. Read Carole Berrih’s insights.

Drawing by Sandra Encaoua

The number of guards provided by the prison service is completely inadequate and makes it impossible to organise infirmary access for prisoners.

The situation therefore depends on the extent to which the representatives of the informal governance system trust the other prisoners.

Concrete change at ground level would ensure measures are context-specific, and more likely to bear fruit than a purely normative approach.

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Carole Berrih

Synergies Coopération

Carole Berrih, a lawyer specialising in public law, is the director of Synergies Coopération. She studies and evaluates international programmes and projects. She has been active in the prison sector for 20 years and is currently carrying out doctoral research at the Université Grenoble Alpes. Her research focuses on the role of prisoners in the maintenance of order in Nigerian prisons.

About the project

Understanding and reducing the use of imprisonment in ten countries

This comparative research and policy project is led by the Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research (ICPR), based at Birkbeck, University of London. To understand the causes and consequences of over-incarceration worldwide, ICPR has worked with a large network of NGOs, academic researchers and practitioners spanning this diverse selection of countries. ICPR partnered with Prison Insider in the latter stages of the project to shed light on aspects of prisoners’ lived experience in custody before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project team collaborated to gather national experts’ insights, and to facilitate a continuing global conversation around the key research findings.
The project focuses on five main themes that can be found in the drop-down menu.
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