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More than 10 million people are imprisoned worldwide; these individuals have considerable health needs, yet often receive poor, suboptimal care.

Staff working to deliver health care to people in prison play an important role not only in ensuring these needs are met but also in providing a service to society, as the evidence suggests that health and reoffending are closely linked. Despite its importance, the work of health care staff in prison tends to be undervalued and underrecognized, and recruitment and retention are important issues within the workforce.

The Worldwide Prison Health Research and Engagement Network is a new initiative that will support the professional development of health care staff in prisons. The Network aims to help the development of health service delivery within prison settings across the world to improve the health and well-being of people in prison and reduce health inequalities.

The Network will use a web platform to harness the power of cost-effective information and communication technologies to deliver online training programmes, enable the sharing of resources among practitioners globally and promote intersectoral collaboration. As a new initiative, its impact will be evaluated to examine the benefits to those working in prisons, those receiving care and wider society.

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