End of Life Care in the Prison Environment: Updated December 15, 2020


This backgrounder offers a representative sample of articles, reports, etc., on hospice and palliative care in the prison environment noted over the past five years (2016-2020) in the weekly report Media Watch.

Although a universal public health issue, it is in the United States that most interest and attention has been afforded the aging and the terminal ill prison population.

This backgrounder begins with summaries of selected articles on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the prison population. This is followed by a selection of articles by way of a broad overview of the issue. The next section offers summaries of additional articles on end-of-life care in the prison environment in several different countries, including the United States.

New England Journal of Medicine: ‘Flattening the curve for incarcerated populations: COVID-19 in jails and prisons’ (p.2)

Victims & Offenders: ‘The impact of COVID-19 outbreaks in prisons, jails, and community corrections systems throughout Europe’ (p.2)

Health & Justice: ‘Identifying barriers and facilitators to implementing advance care planning in prisons…’ (p.15)

Canadian Family Physician: ‘Life and death in Canada penitentiaries’ (p.15)

The Irish Examiner: ‘Watchdog criticises refusal to allow prisoner to die in a hospice’ (p.18)

Inside Time: ‘Prisons “dying from poor care”‘ (p.21)

Palliative Medicine: ‘Caring, sharing and declaring: How do hospices support prisons to provide palliative and end-of-life care?’ (p.22)