Ethics for Health Care Providers: Codes as Guidance for Practice in Prisons
This chapter discusses the structures and processes of prisons that inhibit attention to ethical practice. It concludes with an emphasis on the importance of ethical practice in prisons, despite and because of the challenges of exercising one's moral agency within the prison environment. The chapter underscores the role of health providers as moral agents in their work with prisoners. The context of prisons involves significant ethical challenges for nurses and other health providers. Ethics in the chapter is considered both a means and an end: it is the way health providers interact with prisoners/patients, and the goal of safe, compassionate, competent and ethical practice. The CNA Code of Ethics can inform prison nursing practice. This is not to suggest that the unique realities of prisons do not make applications difficult, but it is to urge all nurses to stand with colleagues working in and out of prisons to advocate for change.