Penitentiary Health, Health Promotion and Harm Reduction of Imprisonment: Challenges to the Psychologist’s Practice in the Prison System

Lucas Gonzaga do Nascimento Maria Márcia Badaró Bandeira About the authors


This work aims at discussing the psychologist’s role in the guarantee of the right to health in the ambit of the prison system. The psychologist’s work in prisons is still linked to making criminological examinations, what makes a big part of professionals be apart from a more inventive acting, dedicated to the guarantee of rights. Through bibliographical research, we will indicate some of the principal challenges in the field of penitentiary health, that, in recent qualitative researches, also point out to the perception of the problems and the strategies in the confrontation with seriously insalubrious conditions. We consider that psychology can contribute to the intersectoriality between the fields of the penal execution and the right to health. Even though the matter of penitentiary health is enormously damaged by mass incarceration and by the terrible conditions of the Brazilian prison system, psychologists – united with the other technicians and agents of the criminal justice system – can play an important role in the reduction of the damages of the effects of imprisonment, but only if their practice is contextualized and committed to the guarantee of human rights.

Juridical Psychology; Prison System; Penitentiary Health; Health Promotion; Human Rights

Conselho Federal de Psicologia SAF/SUL, Quadra 2, Bloco B, Edifício Via Office, térreo sala 105, 70070-600 Brasília - DF - Brasil, Tel.: (55 61) 2109-0100 - Brasília - DF - Brazil