Back to overview

End-of-Life in High-Security Prisons in Switzerland: Overlapping and Blurring of “Care” and “Custody” as Institutional Logics

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Marti Irene, Hostettler Ueli, Richter Marina,
Project End-of-Life in prison: legal context, institutions and actors
Show all

Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Correctional Health Care
Volume (Issue) 23(1)
Page(s) 32 - 42
Title of proceedings Journal of Correctional Health Care
DOI 10.1177/1078345816684782


Abstract Similar to other institutions, the Swiss prison system faces a growing number of elderly prisoners, trends toward securitization, and, in consequence, more prisoners who will spend the end-of-life (EOL) period of time in prison. By law, prisoners should have the same access to care as the rest of the population. However, custody makes meeting the demands of medical and palliative care difficult. This paper focuses on the organizational challenges related to EOL care. Based on ethnographic and documentary research, it examines the institutional logic of the prison and at the competing “new” logic emerging with EOL care. It illustrates the ambivalences within these logics and the blurred distinction between “care” and “custody,” and evaluates how prison staff interpret this overlap and at effects in shaping everyday practices. Keywords: prison, end-of-life, institutional logics, Switzerland