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The primary focus of this study is to assess the healthcare conditions and availability for imprisoned women and children in Bolivia. The international community has recently been faced with an overwhelming dilemma of children being subjected unjustly to prison conditions due to circumstances of parental incarceration. Commonly referred to as prison children, these dependents, ranging from newborns to adolescent minors in age, often follow their convicted mothers to prison due to lack of a better alternative. Research has indicated that while there is a tremendous threat to the safety, development, and general wellbeing of innocent children residing in prison, one benefit includes that of remaining close to their mothers during key early emotional, physical, and mental development stages. Threats to these children persist in the categories of security and protection from abuse and sexual harassment, denial of rights to education, physical recreation, proper nutrition, and most importantly due medical attention. Deterioration of healthcare rights for women and children is currently one of the most significant sectors of human rights violations. Recent proposed legislative resolutions include development of an international prison monitoring system for nations that subject prisoners to sub-humane conditions due to socioeconomic disparities, birthing and childcare provisions for imprisoned mothers, mother-baby units in prisons, gender and child sensitive prison facilities, comprehensive record-keeping systems for children entering prisons, as well as availability of well-trained and more specialized medical staff to attend to the specific needs of women in prisons. A final resolution in this particular study will include that of development of a child welfare system specific to Bolivia that can be later adapted to other socioeconomically disadvantaged countries, modeled after the present system in the United States and nonetheless compatible with nations' respective resource bases.

Publication Date


Subject Major(s)

Global Health

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Mary Boyes


Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

Is Part Of

VCU Undergraduate Research Posters


© The Author(s)

The Prison Child Dilemma:  An Assessment of Human Rights Infringements and Custodial Autonomy in Bolivian Prisons