Analysis Opinion

Madagascar : The right to health must not be "forgotten behind bars"

Tamara Léger has worked as a researcher and adviser in human rights research, campaigns and advocacy for Amnesty International in Madagascar. Here, Tamara draws on her previous research experience to highlight the severe impact of prison overcrowding on health and access to healthcare. She warns of major public health risks if prisoners are denied adequate care, particularly in a pandemic.

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 Tamara Léger’s insights.

Most cells I visited held between two and ten times the number of people they had been built to accommodate

The impact on prisoners is obvious, ranging from poor mental and physical health to, in the most extreme cases, death.

The full scale of COVID-19 infections and related deaths in prisons has been hard to assess.

One step would be to prioritise people in detention in the national vaccination plans.

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Tamara Léger

Amnesty International

Tamara Léger has worked as a researcher and adviser in human rights research, campaigns and advocacy for Amnesty International in Madagascar. Her work at Amnesty focused on criminal justice issues and the protection of natural resources.

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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