Police stations could be required to provide access to social care for offenders in need, under the government’s Improving Health, Supporting Justice draft strategy put out for consultation this week.
People detained at police stations could be risk-assessed by health and social care professionals and given suitable accommodation where necessary, according to the proposals for improving health and social care services for offenders.
The Department of Health strategy also suggested giving courts a “key role” in the assessment of mental health, support and physical health care needs at an early stage in the justice process. Courts would also be able to access a range of alternatives to custody including secure acute services and non-residential support.
The strategy said guidance on court assessment and diversion would be produced in consultation with health, social care and criminal justice agencies including the Crown Prosecution Service.
It also stated that a separate strategy for children and young people next spring would aim to promote the health and life chances of children throughout their contact with the youth justice system.
The document pledged that no new requirements would be placed on the NHS or social care without additional funding and said a cost assessment would be carried out before the final publication of the strategy next year.
The deadline for responses is 4 March 2008.