Exploring dimensions of social capital of men in prison living with hepatitis C

Stream: Living with Hepatitis
Date: Thursday, 31 March 2016
Time: 11.15 am – 1.00 pm


Purpose: Prison is a unique environment whereby the usual dimensions of social capital may be inhibited or present differently than in the general population. The purpose of this study is to identify and understand the sources and dimensions of social capital of men in prison. Methods: Thirty male inmates living with hepatitis C participated in in-depth interviews across three correctional centres in NSW (inclusive of minimum, medium, and maximum securities). Interviews were transcribed then thematically coded and analysed using NVivo software. Results: Social capital dimensions were found to be present in prison, specifically focusing on trust and safety, informal and formal networks, agency, and civic engagement. However, there were differences in the access and expression of these resources in prison. Reciprocity appears to be an instrumental component of several dimensions of social capital in the prison context but may not be an individual dimension of social capital among male prisoners. Conclusions: Dimensions of social capital do not necessarily translate into the prison context. Reciprocity may have implications on a person’s agency, their informal networks, civic engagement, and trust and safety in prison. An inmate’s social capital may foster greater treatment uptake relating to health and rehabilitative programs (such as hepatitis C treatment) during their incarceration.


Lise Lafferty (Presenter), The Kirby Institute
Lise Lafferty is a PhD Candidate with the Kirby Institute at UNSW Australia. She holds both a Master of Social Development and a Master of Indigenous Studies and is a recipient of a NHMRC Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Research Postgraduate Scholarship. Her research interests include public health, social capital, and social justice. Lise is a member of the NHMRC-funded Indigenous Offender Health Research Capacity Building Group (IOHR-CBG).

Carla Treloar, Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW Australia
Professor Carla Treloar is Deputy Director of the Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW. Carla is also a member of the NSW and the Australian Ministerial Advisory Committees on blood borne viruses and STIs and a member of numerous advisory committees for government, health agencies and non-government organisations. She is a board member of the International Journal of Drug Policy and an associate editor for Addiction. She has published over 140 peer reviewed articles and been awarded over $16 million in research funding.

Tony Butler, The Kirby Institute
Over the past twenty years Tony has worked on numerous projects in the justice health area in Australia involving both adult and juvenile offenders and has authored or co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and reports on prisoner health. He implemented Australia’s first national prisoner health research study - the National Prison Entrants Bloodborne Virus Survey. He is the program head of the Justice Health Research Program at the Kirby Institute. Tony is the lead investigator on the NHMRC-funded Indigenous Offender Health Research Capacity Building Group (IOHR-CBG).

Jill Guthrie, National Centre for Indigenous Studies, ANU
Dr Jill Guthrie, a descendant of the Wiradjuri people of western NSW, joined the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at The Australian National University in April 2012. Since 2012 she has been a Research Fellow with NCIS. Coming from a background in epidemiology, her research interests lie in the intersection between public health and the criminal justice system. She is a member of the NHMRC-funded Indigenous Offender Health Research Capacity Building Group (IOHR-CBG).

Georgina M Chambers, National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Research Unit, UNSW Australia
Associate Professor Georgina M Chambers is the Director of National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit (NPESU), University of New South Wales, and data custodian of the Australian and New Zealand Assisted Reproductive Technology Database (ANZARD). Along with 15 years experience in both public and private healthcare sectors in Australia, she has a PhD in health economics of assisted reproductive technologies (ART), an MBA and Degrees in Medical Science and Computing. She is considered a leading international expert in the health economics and epidemiology of ARTs having published and presented widely on the topic.