Project Team

Catherine Cox

Associate Professor Catherine Cox is one of the PIs on the prison project and is Director of the UCD Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland at University College Dublin. With Marland, she is researching the strand of work on mental health in prison 1850–2000. Her publications include Negotiating Insanity in the Southeast of Ireland, 1820-1900 (2012); with Hilary Marland, Migration, Health, and Ethnicity in the Modern World (2013); with Maria Luddy, Cultures of Care in Irish Medical History 1750-1970 (2010) and numerous articles. Her most recent book Adolescence in Modern Irish History (edited with Susannah Riordan) was published in 2015. With Dr Graham Brownlow, she is editor of Irish Economic and Social History.

Hilary Marland

Professor Hilary Marland is one of the PIs on the prison project and Director of the Centre for the History of Medicine at the University of Warwick. With Cox, she is researching the strand of work on mental health in prison 1850-2000. Her research and publications have focused on the history of psychiatry, including Dangerous Motherhood: Insanity and Childbirth in Victorian Britain (2004) and the relationship between migration and mental illness, a joint project with Catherine Cox, resulting in Migration, Health, and Ethnicity in the Modern World (2013). Her most recent book Health and Girlhood in Britain, 1874-1920 was published in 2013. Aside from prison medicine, she is currently working on medicine in the modern household.

Partner Institutions

Virginia Berridge

Professor Virginia Berridge is Director of the Centre for History in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She came to the School originally as Co-Director of the AIDS Social History Programme and published her book AIDS in the UK: The Making of Policy, 1981–1984 (1996) based on that research. 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. Her book Demons. Our changing attitudes to alcohol, drugs and tobacco was published by Oxford UP in 2013 and Public Health: a Very Short Introduction will be published in 2016.

William Murphy

Dr William Murphy is a lecturer at the School of History and Geography, Dublin City University. His research has focused on the histories of political imprisonment, of the Irish revolution, of female suffragism, and of sport and leisure. His books include the monograph Political Imprisonment and the Irish, 1912-1921 (Oxford University Press, 2014; published in paperback, 2016) and two edited collections Leisure and the Irish in the Nineteenth Century (2016), with Leeann Lane, and The Gaelic Athletic Association, 1884-2009 (2009), with Mike Cronin and Paul Rouse. He is the author of numerous articles and co-founder of Sports History Ireland. On the prison project he is completing further work on the health and wellbeing of political prisoners and on the role of the prison medical officer.

Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Rachel Bennett (Nov. 2016-Nov. 2019)

Dr Rachel Bennett was Research Fellow on the project and based at the University of Warwick. Her previous research interests focused upon various aspects of British criminal history and her PhD examined capital punishment and the treatment of the criminal corpse in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Scotland, resulting in her 2018 book, Capital Punishment and the Criminal Corpse in Scotland, 1740-1834 (Palgave). Her strand of the current project examines women, health care and maternity in English and Irish prisons. The research addresses broad questions surrounding access and entitlement to medical care within the prison and examines them from the female perspective. It questions the role of the prison medical officer in shaping the daily prison routine and whether there was, and is, an acknowledgement that penal provision must be differentiated, first on the basis of gender but also if a woman is pregnant. In addition, the research delves into the question of whether ‘innocent’ infants were, and are, more entitled to medical care, both pre- and post-natal, than their incarcerated mothers and how this impacts upon the treatment of pregnant prisoners in theory and in practice.

Fiachra Byrne (Jan. 2015-Oct. 2017)

Dr Fiachra Byrne was a Research Fellow on the project at the Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland, University College Dublin. His research project is on the mental health of juvenile prisoners in England and Ireland from 1850 to 2000. This comparative study examines the penal practices, legal frameworks, and professional and public discourses relating to the management of juvenile prisoners’ mental health. Fiachra completed his Ad Astra funded PhD at the School of History, UCD in 2011 with a thesis on psychiatry and mental illness in Ireland during the twentieth century. It examined compelling patient narratives of mental illness, investigating how notions of the self, autonomy and mental pathology were constructed through processes of medical, patient and familial exchange.

Margaret Charleroy (May 2015-May 2018)

Dr Margaret Charleroy trained as an historian of medicine and received her PhD from the University of Minnesota. Her research takes an integrative approach to medical history, drawing on questions and methods from population studies and social science history. Her research focus concerns the health and disease of institutionalised populations, including prisons, asylums, and hospitals. Her PhD dissertation examined inmate health in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century American prison system using historical prison medical records both quantitatively and qualitatively. As a Research Fellow on the prison project at the University of Warwick, she examines 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 prisoner’s wellbeing.

Holly Dunbar (Jan. 2017- Nov. 2017)

Dr Holly Dunbar was a Research Fellow on the project at the Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland, University College Dublin. Her research project looked at the Discharged Prisoners’ Aid Societies and other NGOs that advocated for prisoners’ health rights, such as the Howard League for Penal Reform, the National Association of Discharged Prisoners’ Aid Societies, the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders, the Northern Irish Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders, Radical Alternatives to Prison and Alcoholics Anonymous. Her work examined the evolving relationship between philanthropic organisations and the State in medical provision and health promotion among released prisoners. Prior to working at UCD, Holly completed her thesis on gender and the Irish nationalist daily newspapers, c.1912-1923, at the University of Southampton. She has published in Women’s History Review on women and alcohol in Ireland during the First World War.

Max Hodgson (Feb. 2020-Feb. 2021)

Dr Max Hodgson is a Research Fellow at the Centre for the History of Medicine at the University of Warwick. His previous research interests have focused upon various aspects of British and Russian/Soviet criminal history, and his PhD examined the influence of Soviet communist ideology upon British socialists’ understandings of, and approaches to, the politics of punishment and prison reform. His strand of the project examines the ways in which, during the First World War and the interwar period, British authorities attempted to pathologise the refusals of Conscientious Objectors (to fight) and the long-term unemployed (to enter voluntarily into ‘reconditioning camps’) as physical weakness, and the effects this had on the provision of healthcare in carceral institutions. The research addresses questions of entitlement to medical care within prisons and camps, its politicisation and effects on Conscientious Objectors and the unemployed, and the role of this experience in post-war penal reform.

Oisín Wall

Dr Oisín Wall, historian and curator, is a Research Fellow on the project based at Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland, University College Dublin. His current research is focused on the historical relationships between paroled and released prisoners and prisons with a particular emphasis on health and welfare. These relationships can take different forms like continued official involvement with parts of the Prison Service or though activist groups campaigning for reform.

His previous work has included a monograph on the relationship between psychiatry and the counter-culture in 1960s London, The British Anti-Psychiatrists: From institutional psychiatry to the counter-culture, 1960-1971 (2018); a gallery about the history of the medicine and the collections at the Science Museum in London, Journeys Through Medicine; and three years working on Medicine and Communities, one of the new permanent Medicine Galleries at the Science Museum.

Janet Weston

Dr Janet Weston was Research Fellow (2 years) based at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, supervised by Professor Virginia Berridge who carried out research on the history of HIV/AIDS in prisons. Janet completed her PhD at Birkbeck, University of London, in 2015, on medical approaches to sexual offenders. Her research examined the causes and cures that were proposed by psychotherapists, prison doctors, and other specialists in England in the early to mid twentieth century, in their efforts to explain and reduce sexual crime, resulting in her 2018 Bloomsbury publication Medicine, the Penal System and Sexual Crimes in England, 1919–1960s: Diagnosing Deviance. Her research interests encompass histories of medicine and psychiatry, sexuality and gender, law, and criminology, crime, and punishment. During her PhD she taught undergraduate study skills and modern British history, and was one of the organisers of the Wellcome funded ‘Alternative Psychiatric Narratives’ conference in May 2014. She is also involved in the Raphael Samuel History Centre, and mentors young people with the educational charity Arts Emergency. Before returning to academia she worked in the charity sector.

Nicholas Duvall (Jan 2015-Jan 2017)

Dr Nicholas Duvall obtained his BA in History from the University of York, and an MSc and PhD in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine from the University of Manchester, with a thesis on forensic medicine in Scotland, 1914–39. Nicholas was a Research Fellow on the prison project, a joint position held at Warwick and University College Dublin. Alongside researching mental health with Cox and Marland, he developed a strand of research exploring the relationship of prison medical officers with the medical profession more broadly during the 1970s and 1980s.

Sinead McCann

Dr  Sinead McCann was the UCD based public engagement officer working alongside her colleague Flo Swann in Warwick. Sinead’s experience and expertise are in the area of contemporary fine art practice, as well as in partnership working between higher education and community.  She holds a doctorate in Fine Art practice, from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. As a practising, visual artist, she has experience working on a range of projects in gallery, site specific and community settings, and has been awarded funding by recognised bodies to do this work.  Since 2010, she co-ordinates curriculum based collaborative research projects between students and community organisations as part of the programme for Students Learning with Communities in the Dublin Institute of Technology. Before her role in DIT, she worked with a wide range of people from various backgrounds on educational and arts based initiatives in higher education, community education, addiction rehabilitation, mental health and various arts contexts

Flo Swann

Flo Swann joined the project in January 2017 to work on public engagement alongside her UCD colleague Dr Sinead McCann. Flo’s background is in marketing and engagement, having most recently been Director of Marketing at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and prior to that Director of Marketing at Warwick Business School. Her degree is from Warwick, a BA in Theatre Studies and Dramatic Arts, and she spent some years working in arts marketing before moving to Barclays Bank where she managed their marketing and communications to the student and graduate market.

Advisory Board