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Science
CASE NOTES
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Tuesday 21:00-21:30
Repeat Wednesday 16:30
Dr Mark Porter gives listeners the low-down on what the medical profession does and doesn't know. Each week an expert in the studio tackles a particular topic and there are reports from around the UK on the health of the nation - and the NHS.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 18 January
PRESENTER
DR MARK PORTER
Dr Mark Porter
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Tuesday 18 January 2005
A warden locks a prison cell

Full programme transcript >>

Prison Medicine

In 1991 the British Medical Association published a report saying that the health needs of prisoners were being ignored.

In this episode of Case Notes Dr Mark Porter asks if this state of affairs has changed.

Some shocking statistics

The Home Office recently announced figures to show that suicides in English and Welsh jails has equalled the highest level recorded: 95 people in 2004.

According to the Prison Reform Trust there has been a 77 per cent increase in incidents of self-harm over the past year.

The Trust also asserts that prison regimes do little to address the psychiatric needs of prisoners in a population where 72 per cent of male and 70 per cent of women have significant mental health problems.

HMP Chelmsford

In his November 2000 report, then-Chief Inspector of Prisons Sir David Ramsbotham described Chelmsford Prison as a "sick" institution.

Since then, governors and health care workers at Chelmsford have been working hard to reverse that judgement, and in July 2004, a state-of-the-art Healthcare centre opened.

Mark Porter visits the centre, and talks to prisoners and staff about the improvements they've seen since the centre opened. 

And he meets two prisoners who had been suicidal, but who are now using their experience of recovery to help others at their lowest ebb.

Women prisoners

Mark's guest in the studio is Dr Janet Wilkinson of Holloway Women's Prison, who talks about the health care available to women in prison.

More to do

The quality of healthcare received by Chelmsford's prisoners is not shared by other instititions.

Mark talks to Juliet Lyon, Director of the Prison Reform trust, about why she feels that the work to bring prison healthcare up to standard has barely begun.

Good diet for good behaviour?

Bernard Gesch, a senior research scientist at Oxford University and director of the charity Natural Justice, describes the results of his research, which showed that a healthy diet can considerably reduce offending and poor behaviour among prisoners. 
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