HIV/AIDS at the intersection of public health and criminal justice

Toward an evidence-informed, health-and human rights-based approach

Authored by: Rachel M. Amiya , Jessica E. Cope , Krishna C. Poudel , Masamine Jimba

The Routledge Handbook of International Crime and Justice Studies

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  August  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415781787
eBook ISBN: 9780203837146
Adobe ISBN: 9781136868504


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The spheres of public health and criminal justice share an overlapping mandate to protect public welfare and safety. Both systems are designed, in essence, to neutralize harmful elements in society – be they havoc-wreaking humans or disease-causing biological agents. Yet their immediate aims and methods are not always in optimal alignment. Criminalization, for one, is not something measured primarily by true benefits to health or life. Accordingly, laws in their application may at times prove detrimental to the health and human rights perspective (Mann et al. 1999). The question lies in whether and how such chasms might be bridged for the greater public good. To this end, the key lies in balancing the abstract community-level mandates of criminal law with an evidence-based focus on the rights and health of the individual.

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