Mental Health Services: Prisons

Health written question – answered on 12th February 2014.

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Photo of Madeleine Moon Madeleine Moon Labour, Bridgend

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to reduce the number of women with mental health problems in the prison system.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health

The Government is testing liaison and diversion services in England, to identify and assess the health issues and vulnerabilities of all offenders, including women, when they enter the criminal justice system.

Liaison and diversion services in police stations and courts will mean that people with mental health illnesses, learning disabilities and substance misuse problems receive the treatment they need at the earliest possible stage. The Government has recently announced 10 plot areas at a total cost of £25 million with a plan to roll these services out across England by 2017 subject to the full business case.

Liaison and diversion assessments will be available to magistrates and judges to consider when sentencing offenders, and will help to ensure that offenders receive the most appropriate treatment as soon as possible. This could include treatment outside of prison, subject to the sentencing court's discretion.

NHS England will be commissioning liaison and diversion services against a service specification that requires service providers to demonstrate that they are responding appropriately to meet the range of women's health needs.

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