Ahead of today's (25 November) Spending Review the Care not Custody Coalition, established following the tragic death by suicide of a WI member's son suffering from schizophrenia, has written a letter in today's edition of The Times. A copy is reproduced below.

Sir, Far too often people with mental health needs or a learning disability become caught up in the criminal justice system. Our Care not Custody coalition was formed after the tragic death by suicide in Manchester prison of a young man suffering from schizophrenia, the son of a Women’s Institute member, and aims to ensure that people who are getting into difficulties receive the care they need.

We commend the initiative by the Department of Health, Home Office and Ministry of Justice to establish liaison and diversion services with nurses working in police custody suites and the courts, and look to today’s spending review for confirmation that the government will keep its promise to fully implement these vital services.

Janice Langley, Chair, National Federation of Women’s Institutes
Juliet Lyon CBE, Director, Prison Reform Trust
Janet Davies, Chief Executive, Royal College of Nursing
Malcolm Richardson JP, Chairman, Magistrates Association
Mark Fenhalls QC, Chairman, Criminal Bar Association
Andrea Albutt, President, Prison Governors Association
Sir Simon Wessely, President, Royal College of Psychiatrists
Ray James, President, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Dr Christopher Padfield, Chair, Association of Independent Monitoring Boards
Dr Hadyn Williams, Chief Executive, British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy
Ben Summerskill, Director, Criminal Justice Alliance
Frances Crook OBE, Chief Executive, Howard League for Penal Reform
Mark Castle, Chef Executive, Victim Support
Dr Rick Muir, Director, Police Foundation
Jan Tregelles, Chief Executive, Royal Mencap Society
Sean Duggan, Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health
Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive, Rethink Mental Illness
Anne Fox, Director, Clinks
Karyn Kirkpatrick, Chief Executive, Keyring
Linda Bryant, Director of Criminal Justice Services, Together for Mental Wellbeing
Diane Curry OBE, Chief Executive, POPS
Jackie Russell, Director, Women’s Breakout
Kate Parradine, Chief Executive, Women in Prison
Christina Marriott, Chief Executive, Revolving Doors Agency