chapter  2
Health in prisons: a historical perspective
Pages 8

Historically, health in jails and prisons has always been a major issue. The combination of keeping large numbers of people in small, con ned spaces with poor ventilation and little light, often chained together or to a wall, and with poor nutrition, is a recipe for ill health or death and the development of epidemics. Further, there was usually no incentive to keep prisoners alive and healthy unless they were state prisoners of high rank, or were imprisoned awaiting a ransom. In such latter cases, or where the prisoner’s family and friends were able to pay the jailor to ensure their survival in good health, there were economic incentives to improve conditions.