Prisoners need more support for mental health problems

The prison and health services are less effective than they
could be in providing support for prisoners with mental health
problems, a department of health strategy claims,
writes Clare Jerrom.

Both services are also blamed for not recognising the particular
needs of specific groups of prisoners including young people, women
and people from minority ethnic groups.

“There is considerable evidence that, with a few notable
exceptions, the way mental health services are currently organised,
in terms of volume, range and quality, do not meet prisoners’
needs,” it says.

The strategy highlights that 90 per cent of prisoners have a
mental illness, substance abuse problem or both. Among young
offenders, the figure is higher at 95 per cent.

In the first stage of the five-year strategy, prisons and their
local NHS partners will be expected to complete a detailed review
of mental health needs to identify gaps in provision, and develop
action plans to implement change within nine months.

‘Changing the outlook’ can be found at



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