‘In Humanity’s Machine’: Prison Health and History

Fiachra Byrne

Howard League for Penal Reform: Early Career Academics Network Bulletin

In the latest issue of the Howard League’s ECAN Bulletin (July 2017, Issue 33) Dr Fiachra Byrne provides a general overview of the project, ‘Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in Ireland and England, 1850-2000’ and details his own research strand on the history of the mental health of juveniles in custody.

You can read an excerpt from the article below and the full article, ‘”In Humanity’s Machine’: Prison Health and History’, in the latest ECAN Bulletin.

‘In Humanity’s Machine’: Prison Health and History

Prisoners suffer significant health inequalities and a much higher burden of chronic illness, mental illness, infectious disease and substance misuse than the general population. Yet we lack an adequate historical perspective on these issues that might highlight continuities and ruptures in both prisoner health and prison health systems. ‘Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850- 2000’ is an ambitious, wide-ranging, comparative history project that seeks to tackle these questions from the birth of the modern prison era down to the present day. The project is funded by a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award and led by co-Principal Investigators, Associate Professor Catherine Cox (UCD Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland, University College Dublin) and Professor Hilary Marland (Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick).

This is a large, complex, multifaceted project that is being conducted by a group of historians working in England and Ireland and based at four different universities. In addition to Cox and Marland, the project team includes members from Dublin City University (Dr William Murphy) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Professor Virginia Berridge) and five postdoctoral researchers, two of whom are based at Warwick (Dr Rachel Bennett and Dr Margaret Charleroy), two at UCD (Dr Holly Dunbar and Dr Fiachra Byrne) and one at LSHTM (Dr Janet Weston). Dr Nicholas Duvall, who had been based at both Warwick and UCD, completed his two-year research fellowship on the project in January 2017. The impact of this research programme has also been significantly expanded with the recent addition of two public engagement officers to the project group based at UCD (Dr Sinead McCann) and Warwick (Ms Flo Swann).

[Read the full article in the last issue of the Howard League’s ECAN Bulletin …]

Image Credit: ‘Juvenile Delinquency’. Cover image from Report of the Juvenile Delinquency Panel established by the City of Nottingham Education Committee (1951), Education Office.

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