chapter  11
10 Pages

Advocacy

WithDonna Willmott

This chapter explores specific ways that health professionals can fulfill the obligation through individual advocacy for their patients in jails and prisons, by supporting the efforts of prisoners to advocate for themselves, and by working with community-based organizations to ensure the rights and dignity of their prisoner-patients through public education and policy change. The ability of correctional medical staff to advocate for their patients is often compromised due to the conflicting priorities in a setting where confinement, isolation and security goals override the health care needs of prisoners. The chapter profiles examples of health professionals working collaboratively with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their community-based advocates to defend the rights and dignity of women prisoners. The ability of Sisters Inside to raise the overarching critical questions about the nature of the current criminal justice system at the same time it serves women incarcerated within it makes it a vital example of community-based advocacy for women prisoners.