Code of Ethics


Correctional health professionals are obligated to respect human dignity and act in ways that merit trust and prevent harm.  They must ensure autonomy in decisions about their inmate-patients and promote a safe environment.


The correctional health professional shall:

  • Ensure that all medical information is confidential and health care records are maintained and transported in a confidential manner.
  • Render medical treatment only when it is justified by an accepted medical diagnosis.  Treatment and invasive procedures shall be rendered after informed consent.
  • Afford inmates the right to refuse care and treatment.  Involuntary treatment shall be reserved for emergency situations in which there is a grave disability and immediate threat of danger to the inmate or others.
  • Provide health care to all inmates regardless of custody status.
  • Evaluate the inmate as a patient or client in each and every health care encounter.
  • Not be involved in any aspect of execution of the death penalty.
  • Collect and analyze specimens only for diagnostic testing based on sound medical principles.
  • Provide privacy of sight and sound to the degree possible without creating a risk to the provider or other individuals.
  • Perform body cavity searches only after training in proper techniques and when they are not in a patient-provider relationship with the inmate.
  • Identify themselves to their patients and not represent themselves as other than their professional license or certification permits.
  • Honor custody functions but not participate in such activities as escorting inmates, forced transfers, security supervision, strip searches, or witnessing use of force.
  • Undertake biomedical research on prisoners only when the research methods meet all federal guideline requirements (45 CFR 46) for experimentation on human subjects and individual prisoners or prison populations are expected to derive benefits from the results of the research.