Research & Publications
The importance of recognising that prison health issues are a constituent part of public health has important organisational implications. One of these is the need to ensure that prison administered health services have links that are as a close as possible with public health. In 2004 ICPS organised a seminar to discuss the policy and practical consequences of this principle. It was attended by senior representatives from the health services in England and Wales, France, Norway, and New South Wales in Australia.
Between 2000 and 2004 ICPS developed the Restorative Prison Project which set out to discover the extent to which restorative principles could be used in the prison setting as a means of assisting prisoners to resettle into their communities after release. The project, which was funded by the Northern Rock Foundation, was overseen by an advisory group chaired by Sir Graham Melmoth, then CEO of the Co-operative Wholesale Society.
The project identified four key elements which might be used to assist the process of resettlement:
WHO Europe is the main intergovernmental organisation for action on all health matters in the region and at the time was particularly influential among the governments of the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia through its regional headquarters in Copenhagen. Building on the achievements of the OSI funded project ICPS began to work closely with WHO Europe and its partners in the Health in Prison Project (HiPP) to bring a concern for prison health issues into the mainstream of WHO thinking.
As a further element of analysis into the way prisons are managed and prisoners are treated ICPS sought to open up a debate about how what became known as the “outputs” of imprisonment should be measured. Since the 1990s the Prison Service of England and Wales has laid great emphasis on establishing standards for what goes on inside prisons and it developed a sophisticated auditing process. However, these audits tended to focus on features which could be easily measured.
Throughout 2002 and 2003 the Open Society Institute (OSI) funded the efforts of ICPS to support a mechanism capable of galvanising governments, non-governmental organisations and donors to make a political and financial commitment to improving health in prisons in countries of the former Soviet Union. The primary objective of the project was to improve public health by: