Skip to main content

Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000

 

Professor Hilary Marland, Centre for the History of Medicine (Warwick), and co-Principal Investigator Dr Catherine Cox (University College Dublin), have commenced work on a major five-year project, funded by a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award, exploring health in prison.

Project Aims

Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000 is researching topics that resonate with current concerns in the prison service, including:
  • the very high incidence of mental health problems amongst prisoners
  • the health of women, and maternity services in prison
  • the link between nutrition and health in prison
  • the harmful impact of prison on young offenders
  • reform organisation and reintegration into the community
  • political prisoners, hunger strikes, and health
  • responses to addiction and HIV/AIDS.
All the different strands of research straddle the period from the start of the modern prison system in the mid-nineteenth century up to the current day, and compare the provision of medical services and notions of the entitlement of prisoners to health in both England and Ireland. The team seeks to answer the overarching questions of:
  • who advocates for prisoners’ health?
  • to what extent are prisoners deemed entitled to health care?
  • how do debates on human rights influence the provision of medical care for prisoners?prisoners_in_yard.jpg
  • to what extent are prison doctors constrained by dual loyalty to the prison service and to prisoners themselves, their patients?

The project is engaged with policy makers and prison reform organisations, and is running several policy workshops. It will result in several public outreach projects, including a commissioned theatrical production and artwork. If you would like to be added to our mailing list for updates on our work please contact us.

The Project Team

Professor Hilary Marland, University of Warwick, Principal Investigator, is working on the relationship between the prison system and mental illness, considering the high levels of diagnosis of mental illness amongst prisoners and the impact of the prison system itself on mental health. Hilary will also focus on women and mental health in the prison system.

Dr Catherine Cox, Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland, University College Dublin, Principal Investigator, is working with Hilary on the relationship between the prison system and mental illness, considering the high levels of diagnosis of mental illness amongst prisoners and the impact of the prison system itself on mental health.Catherine will also examine the evolution of the separate system in Ireland and its impact on mental health.

Professor Virginia Berridge is Director of the Centre for History in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. As well as HIV/AIDS, her research interests include the recent histories of drugs, alcohol and tobacco; and the relationship between research, including historical research, and policy.

Dr Janet Weston, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (supervised by Professor Virginia Berridge), is researching the history of HIV/AIDS in prisons.

Dr Will Murphy of Mater Dei Institute, Dublin City University, will research the health of political prisoners and the impact they had in shaping attitudes and practices of health and medicine in Irish and English prisons.

Dr Fiachra Byrne, University College Dublin, Postdoctoral Fellow (3 years), working on the mental health of juvenile prisoners in England and Ireland.

Dr Nicholas Duvall, University of Warwick (year 1), University College Dublin (year 2), Postdoctoral Fellow (completed in Jan 2017). Nicholas supported Hilary and Catherine on their strand of work, and also developed his own project over the two years on the health of prison officers.

Dr Holly Dunbar, UCD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow (3 years) is researching prison reform movements and health.

Dr Margaret Charleroy, University of Warwick, Postdoctoral Research Fellow (3 years), working on the management of prisoner’s health, disease and chronic illness in institutions shaped by imperatives to punish, control and rehabilitate as well as efforts to improve conditions and prisoners’ wellbeing.

Dr Rachel Bennett, University of Warwick, Postdoctoral Research Fellow (3 years), working on the health of women in prison.

Ms Flo Swann, University of Warwick, Public Engagement Officer (2 years), coordinating the project's arts and policy initiatives.

Ms Sinead McCann, UCD, Public Engagement Officer (2 years), coordinating the project's arts and policy initiatives.