Requests for Euthanasia in Belgian Prisons. Between Mental Suffering, Human Dignity and the Death Penalty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Belgium is one of three countries in the world where euthanasia can legally be used by physicians at the explicit and repeated request of a patient who is in a hopeless medical situation and experiencing unbearable and continued physical or mental pain and suffering that cannot be relieved and is the result of a serious and incurable injury or pathological condition. Over the last two years, 17 requests for euthanasia due to unbearable mental suffering were made by inmates in Belgium. All inmates were either purging a long prison sentence or a indeterminate protection measure for mentally ill offenders. The authors examine the ethical, legal and criminological issues raised by these cases. Indeed, while both national and international human rights standards guarantee inmates the right to equal medical care, the potential impact of the prison context on their mental suffering must be taken into account.
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)102-122
Number of pages21
JournalCriminologie
Volume48
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Christophe Adam et David Joubert

Keywords

  • Euthanasia
  • Mental suffering
  • Prison
  • Human dignity

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