Prison healthcare and austerity

With prisons reportedly still ‘in recovery’ from pandemic restrictions, and multiple pressures on the NHS and the public finances, how will the health of prisoners be protected and improved? How can advocates for better health care make their case?

We are pleased to be working on this collaborative project with the University of Bristol.

The project will share the findings and recommendations from an Economic and Social Research Council research project on the impact of ten years (and counting) of austerity on prison healthcare in England.


  1. To share lessons learned about how austerity has impacted prison healthcare in England with UK politicians, policymakers, and non-governmental organisations to inform social policy discussions and policy formation;
  2. To develop advocacy toolkits that will enable UK non-governmental organisations to challenge the reduction in resources for prison healthcare and prevent prisons from reaching tipping points in the future, especially when it is likely that the UK will experience a recession.

These advocacy toolkits will seek to empower non-governmental organisations to monitor and challenge future measures that are likely to lead to the imposition of greater austerity measures on prisons, using the evidence and key events. They will also enable an additional checks and balances mechanism that reminds the government’s duty of care to protect prisoners from torture and degrading treatment.

Collaborators at the University of Bristol

  • The project lead, Dr Nasrul Ismail, School for Policy Studies,
  • PolicyBristol, who will share lessons from this project via the development and dissemination of policy briefs to the UK politicians, policymakers, and non-governmental organisations and organise two-way discussions and networking events on the findings with these stakeholders in early 2023.


July 2022 to March 2023.

Updates on the project will be reported in our regular eBulletins.


If you or your organisation are interested in working with the project, or keen to learn more, please contact: