Insufficient mental health schemes for offenders

There are insufficient schemes to divert offenders with mental
health problems out of the criminal justice system and into
appropriate health services, according to a report by Nacro
published today, writes Clare Jerrom.

The research by the rehabilitation agency found that many areas
in England and Wales had no service provision at all while others
relied on one lone worker.

“The government needs to introduce a robust nationwide
network of diversion and criminal justice mental health liaison
schemes with ring-fenced money for the creation and maintenance of
these schemes, and guidance on how to set up and run them,”
said Lucy Smith, mental health policy officer for Nacro.

The survey found that:-

• 72 per cent of schemes cited a lack of beds as a barrier
to their scheme operating successfully

• 34 per cent were using a police station as their sole
“place of safety” for people detained

• A quarter had seen a decrease of staffing levels within
the last year

Under-funding and a lack of clear guidance in this area was
leading to serious gaps in service provision, the report

Report from


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