To read this content please select one of the options below:

Prison staff and the health promoting prison

Rachael Dixey (Professor of Health Promotion, School of Health and Wellbeing, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK)
James Woodall (Senior Lecturer in Health Promotion, School of Health and Wellbeing, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK)

International Journal of Prisoner Health

ISSN: 1744-9200

Article publication date: 17 August 2011




This paper aims to discuss some of the obstacles to implementing policy and strategy related to health promoting prisons. It focuses on the role of prison officers and raises issues concerning their conditions of service, training and organisational culture in a situation where the prison system faces security issues, overcrowding and high levels of ill health among prisoners.


This paper emerged as a result of significant overlapping themes between two separate studies conducted by the authors. The paper draws on the authors' qualitative data from these studies.


The findings demonstrate the ambiguities and tensions in changing organisational cultures and among prison staff. Alongside the qualitative data, the paper draws on theory regarding policy implementation at the micro‐level to show how staff can block or speed up that implementation.

Practical implications

Prison officers are an essential part of health promoting prisons, but have been relatively ignored in the discussion of how to create healthier prisons.


The contribution that prison staff make to creating health promoting prisons has been under‐explored, yet pertinent theory can show how they can be more effectively involved in making changes in organisational culture.



Dixey, R. and Woodall, J. (2011), "Prison staff and the health promoting prison", International Journal of Prisoner Health, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 8-16.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles