Correctional health: Prison health as public good


Public goods are goods that cannot be subdivided for sale to individuals.

Prison services as public good

A pure public good is characterised by

– “Joint supply”: supply to one person allows of an identically quality good to all other people at no extra cost. Inmates through the country must have access to the same basic “health package”. Inmates should have no better, nor no worse health care than the citizen dependent on provincial health care

-Non-rivalness: one person can consume a good without affecting another’s consumption. This may be broadly true in relation to budget dedicated to prison health by the Department of Correctional Services. One has to keep in mind that health resources (such as time, human resources, finances, infrastructure) are infinite, the over-usage by some can limit the access of resources by others

– Non-excludability: this is possible and should be a major goal. If one inmate has access, another inmate should have equal access if criteria of need are met

-Non-rejectability: once supplied it must be fully and equally consumed by all. A political or ideological decision must be made on which range of goods or services will and which won’t be delivered. You can’t have occupational or physiotherapy services or access to antiretrovirals for inmates in one prison and not for another prison. If an inmate is transferred from one prison to another there should be homogenous flow of medication continuation

Prison health as public good