Ex-governor urges prison care reform

A “radical new approach” is needed for the delivery of prison mental health care, according to a Home Office official and former Brixton Prison governor.

In a lecture this week, John Podmore was due to say primary care trusts had to make prison mental health care a commissioning priority to help reduce social exclusion and reoffending.

Speaking ahead of the lecture, he told Community Care: “Prison is not conducive to good mental health so we need to be more proactive in dealing with it than we currently are.”

Podmore, head of the community prisons and transitional facilities project at the Home Office, was due to tell the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health lecture there needed to be better alternatives than prison for people with mental health problems.

He was also expected to call for better support for prisoners with dual diagnosis and better care for those with low-level mental health problems.

A report by the all-party parliamentary group on prison health last week called for a “massive investment” in prison mental health care, branding the current system “clearly dysfunctional”.


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