"Human being: the measure of all things" : human dignity and mental health of prisoners

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Alepi, Leda-Panagiota
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Apart from being the founding principle of the human rights movement human dignity also permeates all fundamental human rights and the related documents. It can consequently be used as a tool for the interpretation and implementation of all human rights, which are recognised for all people. The dimension of human dignity which is used in the various legal instruments is not exalted in the sphere of the divine or of metaphysics, but it remains tantamount to the nature of human beings. Traditionally, one of the rights which directly tackle the core subject of the human beings’ existence is the right to health. The analysis of this latter under the prism of human dignity’s behests indicates that the right to health should cover and protect issues related not only to the physical, but also to the mental health and further psychological status and development of the person. The application of the above-mentioned theoretical statements to a specific group, namely the incarcerated population, shows that prisoners’ “treatment with humanity” must take into consideration both their physical and their mental health. Consequently, health care services in prison units should develop programmes providing adequate health aid, which meets all the particular needs of the imprisoned population.
Second semester University: University of Southern Denmark, Copenhagen.
dignity, mental health, prisoners, right to health