The Health of Prisoners

Historical Essays


In eighteenth-century Britain, gaols were places of temporary confinement, where inmates stayed while awaiting punishment. With the rise of the 'penitentiary' from the early nineteenth century, custodial institutions housed prisoners for much longer periods of time. Prisoners were supposed to be reformed as well as punished during their incarceration. From at least the time of John Howard (1726-1790), the health of prisoners has been part of the concern of philanthropists and others concerned with the wider functions of prisons. The Victorians established a Prison Medical Service, and members of the medical profession have long been involved in caring for the mental and physical needs of prisoners. For two centuries, prison overcrowding has been identified as a major cause of mortality and morbidity in prisons. Historical debates thus often have a modern ring to them, which make the essays in this volume particularly timely.

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Notes on Contributors
Roy PORTER: Howard's Beginning: Prisons, Disease, Hygiene
A.J. STANDLEY: Medical Treatment and Prisoners' Health in Stafford Gaol during the Eighteenth Century
Martin J. WIENER: The Health of Prisoners and the Two Faces of Benthamism
Anne HARDY: Development of the Prison Medical Service, 1774-1895
Anne SUMMERS: Elizabeth Fry: and Mid-Nineteenth Century Reform
Joe SIM: The Prison Medical Service and the Deviant 1895-1948
Alison LIEBLING and Tony WARD: Prison Doctors and Prison Suicide Research
Richard SMITH: Health Services for Prisoners: Lost in Ambiguities
Sir Louis BLOM-COOPER: The Criminal Lunatic Asylum System Before and After Broadmoor
Stephen TUMIM: The Woolf Report and After
Stephen SHAW: The Lessons of History