Mental Health care in prisons

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

25% of women and 15% of men in prison reported symptoms indicative of psychosis.The rate among the general public is about 4%.

Self-inflicted deaths are 8.6 times more likely in prison than in the general population.

70% of people who died from self-inflicted means whilst in prison had already been identified as having mental health needs. However, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) found that concerns about mental health problems had only been flagged on entry to the prison for just over half of these people.

The PPO’s investigation found that nearly one in five of those diagnosed with a mental health problem received no care from a mental health professional in prison.

The PPO also found that no mental health referral was made when it should have been in 29% of self-inflicted deaths where mental health needs had already been identified.

40% of prisons inspected in 2016–17 had inadequate or no training for prison officers to know when to refer a person for mental health support.

 

latest news and publications

Nov17 17/11/2021 00:01:00 by alex

Commenting on the findings of today’s (17 November) joint thematic inspection of the criminal justice journey for individuals with mental health needs and disorders, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

“The government repeatedly celebrates the fact that it expects to send more people to custody and is spending £4bn to build new prisons as a result. But this hugely important joint report from six different inspectorates shows that many of the people who will fill those cells will be mentally ill. 12 years on from being given a road map to solve these problems, the government’s progress is exposed as inadequate. Austerity provides no excuse. Much of what the inspectors describe stems from a failure to work efficiently across departments rather than a lack of resource. But where resource is an issue, governments still choose to spend on punishment rather than treatment.

“A frantic search is underway for ways in which to accommodate the surge in prison numbers expected as courts work through their backlog. That will mean more people spending 23 hours a day sharing Victorian cells in prisons that should be closed. It will mean more people sent to prison as a “place of safety” despite the overwhelming evidence that such prisons cause mental health conditions to worsen, not improve.

“The solutions are still there, and this latest report lays them out. But they require the government to concentrate its attention and resources on their delivery—a task that pointless ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric only seeks to evade.”

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Sep29 29/09/2021 00:01:00 by alex

Commenting on the findings of today’s (29 September) report on mental health in prisons by the House of Commons Justice Committee, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said: 

“The government should be deeply ashamed of the situation this report describes. We are sending mentally ill people to prisons where conditions are guaranteed to damage their health further. The first priority must be to provide the community options that will avoid the need for prison in all but the most serious cases. But there can be no excuse either for prison environments that are guaranteed to make ill people sicker and in which people all too frequently take their own lives.

“The government can find countless millions to build new prisons, but seems reluctant to invest with the same urgency in the services that would make that unnecessary. The result is morally as well as economically indefensible.”

Click here to read the committee's findings.

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Sep15 15/09/2021 10:00:00 by alex

Women in prison have revealed the devastating impact of Covid-19 restrictions on their mental health and wellbeing, in a briefing launched today by the Prison Reform Trust.

Based on evidence from women in prison from May 2020 to May 2021, as well as supporting evidence from HM Inspectorate of Prisons and other sources, the briefing looks at women’s experiences of prison during the first and second waves of the pandemic.

Click 'read more' for the full story

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Jul15 15/07/2021 09:44:00 by alex

Commenting on the findings of today’s (15 July) Criminal Justice Joint Inspection report on neurodiversity in the criminal justice system, Peter Dawson, Director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

“This outstanding report shows conclusively that the criminal justice system is failing in its core duty to treat people with neuro-divergent conditions fairly, and that the number of individuals affected is startlingly high.

“The Lord Chancellor was clearly right to commission this work. But the real test is whether he will now provide the resource and the leadership required to follow through on the six crystal clear recommendations the report makes. “

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Jul22 22/07/2020 14:30:00 by alex

The Prison Reform Trust welcomes the publication today by the Sentencing Council of Overarching principles: Sentencing offenders with mental disorders, developmental disorders, or neurological impairments.

A high proportion of people in contact with the criminal justice system have mental health needs, learning disability or a neurological disorder. We hope that the new guideline will provide clarity and transparency for the sentencing of these individuals and help to ensure that their specific needs are taken into account and met in the sentencing process.

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