Article ID: CBB177897813

Governing Prisoners’ Health: The Development of the Prison Medical Service in New South Wales, 1840–1900 (2020)


The history of the prison medical service of New South Wales (NSW) provides a vantage point from which to examine a range of important issues in nineteenth-century Australia, especially the history of health care, prevailing beliefs about social ordering, and the roles and functioning of the state. Emerging from its foundations in a penal colony, the prison medical service of NSW reflected and responded to wider changes, including penal ‘reform’ proposals, medical professionalisation, and colonial state formation. By focusing on the work of medical men in gaols during the nineteenth century, this article highlights how the profession managed to assert and enforce their autonomy in colonial society, while working in state institutions that were increasingly viewed as the central feature of effective criminal justice. In return, the colonial authorities and (later) the state government of NSW encouraged a new ‘speciality ‘ of medical practice among prisoners, and thereby contributed to new understandings of incarceration and its place in modern societies.

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Authors & Contributors
Jones, Susan
Ruggles, Steve
Tobbell, Dominique
Burney, Ian Adnan
Saunders, Shirley D.
McPake, Barbara
Health and History
History of Psychiatry
Social History of Medicine
Historical Records of Australian Science
International Journal of Middle East Studies
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
Johns Hopkins University Press
University of Minnesota
Palgrave Macmillan
University of California Press
Health care
Medicine and politics
Psychiatric hospitals
Brisbane, Thomas Makdougall
Jamot, Eugene
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century, late
18th century
New South Wales (Australia)
New York (U.S.)

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