and welcome to our very first e-news. We realise you may not have heard from us for a while but, as someone who has shown an interest in our project exploring the history of prisoners and health, or perhaps a previous project, we hope that you will be interested in keeping in touch. Our e-news will be appearing every couple of months but please don't hesitate to get in touch with us any time if you would like to know more.

In this issue of our e-news:
  • the roots of the current UK prison crisis
  • youth suicide risk
  • the aftermath of the Easter uprising
  • condoms for prisoners.
It has been a very busy time in the world of prisons and prisoner health and it is clear that the prison system in both the UK and Ireland is under both great strain and scrutiny:
  • BBC1 screened a disturbing Panorama about a prison in crisis
  • our evidence to the Select Committee Enquiry in to Mental Health and Deaths in Prison was published
  • Fíona Ní Chinnéide, Irish Prison Reform Trust, presented to the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality on issues of prison overcrowding and the absence of treatment for substantial numbers of prisoners with serious mental health issues. She also referenced the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture's finding (2014) that 'health care conditions in some [Irish] prisons were in a state of crisis' and the current lack of oversight of health facilities in Irish prisons.
  • An ongoing issue since summer 2016, Oberstown child detention centre has been rocked by an industrial dispute, violence, riots, a high level of violent incidents and there are currently legal proceedings initiated by inmates there on the inappropriate use of solitary confinement at the facility. Since December 2016, further industrial action has been deferred, and an independent health and safety expert has been appointed to conduct a review of safety protocols and arrangements at Oberstown.
We're starting work on our new theatre piece with Coventry's Talking Birds. Following on from Trade in Lunacy and Malady of Migration, the final part of the trilogy will focus on mental health in prison and be performed in July 2017. We hope you'll come and support it.

And finally, we've launched our new Twitter account alongside our Facebook page. Do come and join the conversation.
Best wishes
The Project Team
Prisons have long been acknowledged as sites of both danger and opportunity in relation to the management of infectious disease. Revisit Dr Janet Weston's blog exploring HIV and related infections amongst prisoners.
As we approach Easter, you might be interested to hear Dr Will Murphy speaking last year on Ireland's RTE Radio 1 History Show about the aftermath of the Easter Rising which saw around 3,000 men deported to British jails.

Will explores the day-to-day reality of life for internees in harsh and difficult surroundings. He tells how some pretty unlikely crafts were produced for loved ones back home, and also how rat infested prisons, like Frongoch, became a breeding ground for sedition - places where activists studied and strategised and the seeds of the war of independence were sown.
Prof Hilary Marland is interviewed for an article exploring the roots of the current prison crisis in the UK: Prisons - still searching for a solution.
Revisit Dr Fiachra Byrnes' presentation Between Discipline and Medical Concern: Suicide Risk and the Young Offender 1945-1973 given at our policy event at The Shard last year. We look forward to this year's event, being held in Dublin in June.
Areas we are researching:
  • the very high incidence of mental health problems amongst prisoners
  • the harmful impact of prison on young offenders
  • the health of women, and maternity services in prison
  • political prisoners, hunger strikes, and health
  • the link between nutrition and health in prison
  • reform organisation and reintegration into the community
  • responses to addiction and HIV/AIDS.
Questions we are tackling:
  • 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?
  • how is the role of doctor complicated when medical care is offered in a prison?
 If you know anyone who might want to support or work with us please do put us in touch.
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History of Health in Prison project, Centre for the History of Medicine · Warwick University · Gibbett Hill Road · Coventry, CV4 7AL · United Kingdom

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