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Clinical independence is an essential component of good health care and health care professionalism, particularly in correctional settings (jails, prisons, and other places of detention), where the relationship between patients and caregivers is not based on free choice and where the punitive correctional setting can challenge optimal medical care.
Independence for the delivery of healthcare services is defined by international standards as a critical element for quality health care in correctional settings, yet many correctional facilities do not meet these standards because of a lack of awareness, persisting legal regulations, contradictory terms of employment for health professionals, or current health care governance structures.
This paper presents recommendations for the implementation of independent health care in correctional settings.