Policy Workshop: Agenda

9:30 am

Registration, Tea & Coffee

10:00–10:15 am

Welcome and Objectives

Convenors: Catherine Cox (University College Dublin) and Hilary Marland (University of Warwick)

10:15–11:45 am

Session 1: Out of Sight: Making Health Visible

Chair: Fiachra Byrne (University College Dublin)


Fíona Ní Chinnéide (Irish Penal Reform Trust): ‘Improving Prison Health: Using Advocacy Tools to Effect Change’

Margaret Charleroy (University of Warwick): ‘Per Humanitatem ad Pacem: Medical Humanitarianism in the Prison, 1800-1900’

Janet Weston (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine): ‘Reforming Prison Healthcare in the 1980s: The Impact of HIV and AIDS’

Kimmett Edgar (Prison Reform Trust): ‘Lessons for Health Provision in Prisons from International Standards’

Session Questions:

This session will focus on how reform groups and other activists identify and conceptualise either specific health issues or groups with specific health needs in the prison setting. Key questions are:

  • What approaches have been adopted in reform campaigns to improve prisoners’ health and wellbeing?
  • How important have specific health crises been in prompting more systemic health reforms in prisons?
  • Could a focus on prisoner health marginalize other equally important reformist goals such as prisoner education and socialization?

11:45–12:00 pm

Coffee Break

12.00–1.30 pm

Session 2: Reform 101: Effective Communication Strategies

Chair: William Murphy (Dublin City University)


Anita Dockley (The Howard League): ‘New Media, Old News: Strategies for Getting Penal Issues in Popular Discourse’

Rachel Bennett (University of Warwick): ‘Identifying and Advocating for Women’s Health: The Duchess of Bedford’s 1919 Committee of Enquiry into Medical Care in Holloway Prison’

Holly Dunbar (University College Dublin): ‘The Case of Prisoner Alpha: Hearing Prisoners’ Voices Advocating for Health Reform’

Victoria Williams (Food Matters): ‘Reform Through Food: Working with Prisoners to Policy Makers, No Promises, No Lies and Back Door Diplomacy’

Session Questions:

This session will focus on the lobbying strategies employed by reform groups and other activists and how the need for change is communicated in an effective way. Key questions:

  • How do organizations forge effective partnerships when identifying and coordinating campaigns?
  • How effective have health-centred reform campaigns been in advancing prisoner welfare policy and in changing public perceptions of prisoners’ entitlement to health?
  • Does the emphasis on health hold the promise of reframing the overall social purpose of the prison?

1:30–2:30 pm


2:30–3:30 pm

Panel Discussion

Chairs: Catherine Cox (University College Dublin) and Hilary Marland (University of Warwick)

Panel Members:

Workshop speakers with Gerry McFlynn (Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas) and Jane Mulcahy (Cork Alliance Centre)

3:30 pm



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