Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Problems of diabetics in prison.

British Medical Journal 1989; 298 doi: (Published 28 January 1989) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1989;298:221
  1. G. V. Gill,
  2. I. A. MacFarlane
  1. Arrowe Park Hospital, Wirral, Merseyside.


    Providing care for diabetics is difficult in prison. Six diabetic prisoners or former prisoners were seen whose care was difficult or unsatisfactory. Three had multiple admissions to hospital during their sentences with diabetic ketoacidosis that they induced themselves by not taking insulin. The motive seemed to be removal from prison to the fairly pleasant surroundings of the local hospital. A fourth prisoner required admission in a hyperglycaemic, hyperosmolar state that had gone unnoticed as he was thought to be "acting up." The two others had imperfect long term management of diabetes during their sentences. There is clearly room for improvement in diabetic services in British prisons, but manipulative behaviour on the part of some diabetic prisoners may remain a problem.