Diabetes in prison: double the sentence or an opportunity for treatment?

Among the prison population, psychological disorders and infectious diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS, are the most widely recognized medical conditions. According to the authors of this report from France, diabetes is one of the ‘forgotten diseases’ in the penal system. Although in wider society diabetes is recognized as a chronic public health issue, there are very few data on people with diabetes in prison. Publications on the subject are limited mostly to opinion pieces, which often merely reinforce preconceptions about the difficulties of diabetes control, management of insulin therapy and the risk of manipulation of syringes. But the challenges facing prisoners with diabetes and their healthcare providers are more complex and further reaching: among that largely disadvantaged population, health in general is markedly deficient, the supply and availability of medications inadequate, medical care lacking and those affected unmotivated.