Care or custody? An evaluation of palliative care in prisons in North West England
From Palliative Medicine
There has been much reaction to the issue of granting prisoners compassionate leave to die at home. The high profile debate has been particularly fuelled by the decision to release the convicted Lockerie bomber to die at home after being diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer and estimated to have 3 months to live. He was released in August 2009 and still lives.
This article considers the role of prison in end of life care. It recognises the tensions between the philosophies of care and custody, and the many challenges in providing palliative care in a custodial setting.
This study aimed to evaluate health professionals’ views about palliative care provision in prisons in the counties of Cumbria and Lancashire in the NorthWest of England. Seventeen prison healthcare staff and nine specialist palliative care staff participated in semi-structured interviews and 16 prison healthcare staff completed a questionnaire designed to measure knowledge, skills and confidence in relation to palliative care. The findings highlighted tensions between the philosophies of care and custody, and the many challenges in providing palliative care in a custodial setting. This paper presents two illustrative case study examples, and suggests ways in which some of these challenges can be overcome in practice.
Turner, M., Payne, S., & Barbarachild, Z. (2011). Care or custody? An evaluation of palliative care in prisons in North West England Palliative Medicine DOI: 10.1177/0269216310393058