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Self-rated Health of French Prison Inmates: Measurement and Comparison with other Health Indicators

Collection : Documents de travail

178, 2012, 33 pages

  1. Methods
  2. Results
  3. Discussion
  4. References
Studies conducted abroad have shown that the proportion of prison inmates reporting poor health is high, but little is known about the situation in French prisons. In this paper, data are taken from the 2001 French survey on disabilities in prisons (HID-prisons survey). We measure the prevalence of less-than-good self-rated health (SRH) in the French prison population, and we compare the inmates’ self-rating with two other health indicators available in the survey: health-related difficulties and limitations in everyday life.
In line with the literature, we find that 36% of French inmates rate their health as less-than-good; 87% of these inmates have at least one health-related difficulty, and 56% are limited in their everyday life. Only 5 % of inmates report less-than-good health and no health-related difficulty, while almost two in five inmates report (very)good health and a difficulty/limitation. Our findings suggest that SRH and the two other indicators under study capture different aspects of inmates’ health. In addition, we find that several individual characteristics others than health status (age, level of education, place of birth and time spent behind bars) play a role in the self-rating of health.
The high prevalence of less-than-good SRH in the French prison population highlights the need for appropriate measures to improve prisoners’ health. We argue in favour of the use of SRH as a routine measure of prisoners’ health.

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