Get access

A cross-sectional study on dermatological diseases among male prisoners in southern Lazio, Italy

Authors

  • Alice Mannocci PhD,

    1. Clinical Medicine and Public Health Unit, Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Domitilla Di Thiene MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Clinical Medicine and Public Health Unit, Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
    • Correspondence

      Domitilla Di Thiene MD

      Clinical Medicine and Public Health Unit

      Department of Experimental Medicine

      Sapienza University of Rome

      Viale Regina Elena 324

      00161 Rome

      Italy

      E-mail: dotilla@libero.it

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Leda Semyonov MD,

    1. Clinical Medicine and Public Health Unit, Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Antonio Boccia MD,

    1. Clinical Medicine and Public Health Unit, Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Guiseppe La Torre MPH

    1. Clinical Medicine and Public Health Unit, Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Funding: None.

  • Conflicts of interest: None.

Abstract

Background

Prisoners have heightened health needs, and only recently has the importance of skin diseases in this group been recognized. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalences of dermatological diseases among prisoners in the jails of southern Lazio and to investigate the determinants of these.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was carried out in three jails in southern Lazio. Retrospective data collection for sociodemographic characteristics, lifestyle habits, and health status was realized using patients' charts.

Results

The study sample consisted of 2653 male prisoners detained during 1995–2000. A total of 7.9% of the sample were found to have dermatological disease. The most common diseases were nonspecific dermatitis (3.1%), acne (1.5%), mycosis (1.4%), and scabies (0.7%). Multiple regression analyses were conducted to establish the associations of skin diseases with substance addiction status and age. In addition, a highly significant association emerged between length of detention and rate of dermatological disease.

Conclusions

This study shows that habitual offenders, foreign inmates, prisoners serving long sentences, and prisoners who are illiterate are the most affected by dermatological disease. The conditions of detention may be the main reason; preventative strategies such as limiting overcrowding and the provision of electronic case sheets and a centralized database to collect and maintain patient clinical data might be effective in improving public health in jails.

Ancillary