Prisons minister Paul Goggins admitted it would be “of great
concern” if prisoners were in jail because services had failed to
provide support before the offence had been committed.
It follows disquiet expressed by the parliamentary joint committee
on human rights that lack of support for issues such as mental
health and substance misuse could be a factor in up to 90 per cent
of prisoners held.
In evidence to the committee’s deaths in custody inquiry, Goggins
said he was unsure whether statistics were held on the number of
prisoners who had sought help from health authorities before
committing crimes, but acknowledged that “many would have done”.
He highlighted that early identification was crucial, as
“prevention was always better than cure”, particularly in the cases
of young offenders.