Relational dignity and assisted dying for persons deprived of liberty

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the eventual legalisation of assisted dying in England and Wales should extend to persons deprived of liberty, as well.

Design/methodology/approach: Using a relational view of dignity strengthens the argument that the need to protect the dignity of persons deprived of liberty requires the extension of the legalisation of assisted dying to persons deprived of liberty once generally achieved in England and Wales.

Findings: Three aspects make dignity a relational concept – dignity being attributed by society, dignity working as a restraint on others and dignity requiring specific behaviours. All these elements support the claim that assisted dying should be available to persons deprived of liberty, once legalised in England and Wales.

Originality/value: Both the legalisation of assisted dying for persons deprived of liberty and the concept of relational dignity have to date found little attention. With a legalisation of assisted dying being debated in England and Wales, it is pertinent to discuss its application to persons deprived of liberty, who would undoubtedly not automatically benefit from a future Assisted Dying Act.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-240
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Prisoner Health
Issue number2
Early online date21 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2023


  • Assisted dying
  • Dignity
  • Human rights
  • Persons deprived of liberty
  • Prisoners’ rights
  • Relational dignity

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