Doctors have called for changes to the rules governing when terminally ill prisoners can be released early on compassionate grounds, amid concern that the current approach is discriminatory.
Mary Turner, reader in health services research at the University of Huddersfield, who has published previous research on palliative care in English prisons, concurred that fears of adverse publicity might impact prognoses, citing the cases of the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and the Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs.
“You could argue that we [in the UK] tend to be a bit risk averse. A few very high profile cases in the past have caused huge amounts of controversy.
“It’s too simplistic to say the prison service or the government is at fault, but this is a very complex area that needs properly looking at. I think we’ve got a lot of work still to do, and I think we can learn a lot from international comparisons.”