The contradictory right to health of people deprived of liberty: the case of a prison in Minas Gerais, Brazil

  • Élida Lúcia Carvalho Martins Secretaria de Estado de Saúde de Minas Gerais
  • Luciana Gomes Martins
  • Andréa Maria Silveira Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais; Faculdade de Medicina; Departamento de Medicina Preventiva e Social
  • Elza Machado de Melo Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais; Faculdade de Medicina; Departamento de Medicina Preventiva e Social

Abstract

This paper aims to analyze the realization of the right to health of people deprived of liberty, by means of focus groups conducted with three subjects involved in the prison context: imprisoned people, prison officers, and health professionals in a male prison in Ribeirão das Neves, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The discussions were recorded, transcribed, and underwent discourse analysis. The right to health, understood as full access to good-quality health services, is put into question as an actual phenomenon, since, considering that public services are scrapped, this access is restricted to those who can pay for it. State neglect with regard to the right to health of imprisoned people is justified by the disciplinary role played by prison. Poor working conditions and moral judgment on the prisoner’s behavior indicate a refusal to recognize the legitimacy of his right to health. Although the Brazilian laws claim that health is a right of all and a duty of the State, we find out the lack of realization of this right both for imprisoned people and for the professionals working in the prison.

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Published
2014-12-01
How to Cite
Martins, Élida, Martins, L., Silveira, A., & Melo, E. (2014). The contradictory right to health of people deprived of liberty: the case of a prison in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Saúde E Sociedade, 23(4), 1222-1234. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0104-12902014000400009
Section
Articles