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Understanding death in custody : a case for a comprehensive definition

Ruiz, Geraldine and Wangmo, Tenzin and Mutzenberg, Patrick and Sinclair, Jessica and Elger, Bernice. (2014) Understanding death in custody : a case for a comprehensive definition. Journal of bioethical inquiry, Vol. 11, H. 3. pp. 387-398.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6298884

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Abstract

Prisoners sometimes die in prison, either due to natural illness, violence, suicide, or a result of imprisonment. The purpose of this study is to understand deaths in custody using qualitative methodology and to argue for a comprehensive definition of death in custody that acknowledges deaths related to the prison environment. Interviews were conducted with 33 experts, who primarily work as lawyers or forensic doctors with national and/or international organisations. Responses were coded and analysed qualitatively. Defining deaths in custody according to the place of death was deemed problematic. Experts favoured a dynamic approach emphasising the link between the detention environment and occurrence of death rather than the actual place of death. Causes of deaths and different patterns of deaths were discussed, indicating that many of these deaths are preventable. Lack of an internationally recognised standard definition of death in custody is a major concern. Key aspects such as place, time, and causes of death as well as relation to the prison environment should be debated and incorporated into the definition. Systematic identification of violence within prison institutions is critical and efforts are needed to prevent unnecessary deaths in prison and to protect vulnerable prisoners.
Faculties and Departments:08 Cross-disciplinary Subjects > Ethik > Institut für Bio- und Medizinethik > Bio- und Medizinethik (Elger)
03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Public Health > Ethik in der Medizin > Bio- und Medizinethik (Elger)
UniBasel Contributors:Wangmo, Tenzin and Elger, Bernice Simone
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1176-7529
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:07 Aug 2015 12:06
Deposited On:07 Aug 2015 12:06

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