Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners

United Nations, Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, 30 August 1955.
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Year of adoption: 1955
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Medical services

22. (1) At every institution there shall be available the services of at least one qualified medical officer
who should have some knowledge of psychiatry. The medical services should be organized in close
relationship to the general health administration of the community or nation. They shall include a
psychiatric service for the diagnosis and, in proper cases, the treatment of states of mental

(2) Sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to
civil hospitals. Where hospital facilities are provided in an institution, their equipment, furnishings and
pharmaceutical supplies shall be proper for the medical care and treatment of sick prisoners, and there
shall be a staff of suitable trained officers.

(3) The services of a qualified dental officer shall be available to every prisoner.

23. (1) In women’s institutions there shall be special accommodation for all necessary pre-natal and
post-natal care and treatment. Arrangements shall be made wherever practicable for children to be
born in a hospital outside the institution. If a child is born in prison, this fact shall not be mentioned in
the birth certificate.

(2) Where nursing infants are allowed to remain in the institution with their mothers, provision shall be
made for a nursery staffed by qualified persons, where the infants shall be placed when they are not in
the care of their mothers.

24. The medical officer shall see and examine every prisoner as soon as possible after his admission
and thereafter as necessary, with a view particularly to the discovery of physical or mental illness and
the taking of all necessary measures; the segregation of prisoners suspected of infectious or
contagious conditions; the noting of physical or mental defects which might hamper rehabilitation, and
the determination of the physical capacity of every prisoner for work.

25. (1) The medical officer shall have the care of the physical and mental health of the prisoners and
should daily see all sick prisoners, all who complain of illness, and any prisoner to whom his attention
is specially directed.

(2) The medical officer shall report to the director whenever he considers that a prisoner’s physical or
mental health has been or will be injuriously affected by continued imprisonment or by any condition of

26. (1) The medical officer shall regularly inspect and advise the director upon:

( a ) The quantity, quality, preparation and service of food;

( b ) The hygiene and cleanliness of the institution and the prisoners;

( c ) The sanitation, heating, lighting and ventilation of the institution;

( d ) The suitability and cleanliness of the prisoners’ clothing and bedding;

( e ) The observance of the rules concerning physical education and sports, in cases where there is no
technical personnel in charge of these activities.

(2) The director shall take into consideration the reports and advice that the medical officer submits
according to rules 25 (2) and 26 and, in case he concurs with the recommendations made, shall take
immediate steps to give effect to those recommendations; if they are not within his competence or if
he does not concur with them, he shall immediately submit his own report and the advice of the
medical officer to higher authority.