Mental Health care in prisons

10% of men and 30% of women have had a previous psychiatric admission before they entered prison. A more recent study found that 25% of women and 15% of men in prison reported symptoms indicative of psychosis. The rate among the general public is about 4%.

26% of women and 16% of men said they had received treatment for a mental health problem
in the year before custody.


Personality disorders are particularly prevalent among people in prison. 62% of male and 57% of female sentenced prisoners have a personality disorder.

49% of women and 23% of male prisoners in a Ministry of Justice study were assessed as suffering from anxiety and depression. 16% of the general UK population (12% of men and 19% of women) are estimated to be suffering from different types of anxiety and depression.

46% of women prisoners reported having attempted suicide at some point in their lives. This is more than twice the rate of male prisoners (21%) and higher than in the general UK population amongst whom around 6% report having ever attempted suicide.

 

latest news and publications

May8 08/05/2017 00:01:00 by alex

Figures released today (Monday 8 May) by the Prison Reform Trust to mark the start of Mental Health Awareness Week (8–14 May) reveal that our overcrowded and overstretched prisons are struggling to meet the needs of the high numbers of people in their care with a mental health need or learning disability. 

Rising levels of self-inflicted deaths and record numbers of self-harm incidents point to the urgent need for the next government, whatever its political complexion, to address the decline in safety and standards in our prisons and to increase support in the justice system for vulnerable defendants.

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Apr27 27/04/2017 10:37:00 by Zoey

Commenting on the Ministry of Justice's safety in custody statistics published today, Peter Dawson, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:

"The message from these deeply alarming numbers could not be any clearer. An overcrowded prison system cannot cope with the number of people it is expected to hold. People are being maimed and dying in unprecedented numbers as a direct consequence. Two years of positive rhetoric from the government about prison reform has done nothing to stop a relentless decline in safety. There is no end in sight, and a new government must make a reduction in imprisonment a top priority."

The Ministry of Justice's safety in custody statistics (quarterly update to December 2016) are available here.

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Feb23 23/02/2017 10:25:00 by tony


Commenting on the prisons and courts bill, Peter Dawson, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:

"A statutory commitment to a system that rehabilitates is crucial to building safer communities. But the key task for legislation is to ensure that prisons are places in which that ambition can actually be realised. No future government should be allowed to preside over the decline in safety, decency and fairness that  we have seen in recent years. Achieving that will require a commitment to minimum standards, a clear statement of the responsibilities of prisons to those in their care, an independent prisons inspectorate appointed by and accountable to parliament, and a sustained effort to reduce chronic levels of overcrowding and curb sentence inflation." read more...
Feb14 14/02/2017 12:24:00 by tony

Peter Dawson, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, has responded to the Justice Secretary Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's speech on prison reform to the Centre for Social Justice with a letter published today in The Times newspaper.

Sir, Your leader hits a whole series of nails on their heads. Setting arbitrary limits on the prison population is not the issue. Eliminating overcrowding is. It represents the corrosion at the heart of our prisons, undermining decency, safety and rehabilitation. And no government in living memory has made a dent in it, probably because none has thought it worth having a strategy to do so.

Among all the many aspirations to emerge since the crisis in our prisons was finally acknowledged by Michael Gove and now Liz Truss, there is an echoing void where a timetabled plan to eliminate overcrowding should be. In the short term, the pressure can eased by not sending people to prison who need help not punishment, preventing the recall of people to prison on technical grounds, and by reversing the decline in early release on electronic tags. Longer term, we need to rethink how we punish more serious crime, restoring discretion to the courts and hope to the prisoners whose lives we seek to change.

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Jan10 10/01/2017 12:00:00 by alex

Commenting on the Prime Minister's speech on mental health on 9 January, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, Peter Dawson said:

"We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement to tackle the ‘hidden injustice’ and stigma of mental illness, and additional investment in training and community care. High numbers of men, women and children in contact with criminal justice services experience mental illness, and liaison and diversion schemes can help facilitate access to mental health and other community services at an early stage. 

"Early intervention can help prevent escalating levels of need and expensive crisis intervention. For example, research demonstrates that for every £1 spent on women’s services, between £5 and £11 of benefits is realised in improved health and independence for women and their families.

"But that long term dividend can’t be realised without investment, not just in training and awareness but in the services which people need as the hidden injustice starts to see the light of day. A change in attitudes is not enough on its own."

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