Healthy Settings

Types of Healthy Settings

Health Promoting Prisons


The Health Promoting Prisons (HPP) project (also called the Health in Prisons Project, HIPP) began in 1995 in the WHO EURO region, in view of the recognition of inequality between public health and prison health.

Prisoners tend to have poorer health in comparison to the general public due to common prison issues, like bullying, mobbing, and boredom. Prisons provide a unique opportunity for accessing the hard-to-reach with important aspects of health promotion, health education and disease prevention. The project's goal is to improve public health by addressing health and health care in prisons.

The settings approach to promoting health in prisons draws on:

  • prison policies that promote health;
  • a prison environment that is supportive of health;
  • health promotion initiatives specific to individual prisons.
WHO Regional Office for Europe
Examples of implementation

More than 30 Member States of the WHO European Region participate in HPP to various degrees. Yet, the HPP movement seems to be the least "popular" of all the settings-based environments and faces many dilemmas. For example, many prisons lack resources to provide inmates with the most basic amenities; thus the option for additional health promotion does not exist. Under-funding, lacking resources, poor support, overcrowding, and similar problems all present challenges to the HPP movement.

Selected publications
  • Whitehead, D. (2006) The health promoting prison (HPP) and its imperative for nursing. International Journal of Nursing Studies. 43: 123.