Objective: Studies attempting to investigate issues around detainees’ health status is limited in Greece and it is mainly focusing on specific prisons. The scope of this research was to investigate the impact of incarceration on health status of the Greek female prisoners’ population.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted to both female correctional institutions existing in Greece during the years 2014 and 2015. A semi-structured questionnaire was given to incarcerated women who voluntarily accepted to take part. Data were collected via personal interviews and were anonymized. Statistical analysis was performed through descriptive statistics, bivariate analysis and multiple regression analysis with the use of SPSS 20.
Results: Out of 524 female prisoners, 397 met the inclusion criteria and participated in the study. 66.3% reported a moderate or poor health status, while the respective rate before detainment was 23.4%. Health status deterioration and poor mental health were referred by more than half of the participants. The access to health services and the quality of provided healthcare during imprisonment were considered as poor/very poor by 44.8% and 46.1% respectively. Almost half of the respondents expressed their dissatisfaction with the accommodation, the cleanliness, the nutrition as well as with the overall prison environment. Furthermore, the access to health services, the quality of provided healthcare and the experienced detention conditions affect female prisoners’ self-reported general and mental health status.
Conclusion: Female imprisonment impacts negatively prisoners’ self-reported health status. Our findings give a cue for additional explore with the specific end goal to meet the health needs of this vulnerable population as well as to improve everyday life in prison and life after release.