Criminal Proceedings: Mental Illness

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 28th March 2017.

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Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers Conservative, Chipping Barnet

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps she is taking to ensure that people with mental health conditions receive fair treatment in the criminal justice system.

Photo of Phillip Lee Phillip Lee The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

A key aspect of our prison reform programme will be to address offender mental health and improve outcomes for prisoners. This includes making sure governors are focused on, and accountable for, these outcomes.

Our hard-working prison staff provide vital support to prisoners with mental health issues every day and last year we invested in specialist mental health training for officers.

We also need to improve access to mental health services in the community. We are working with the Department of Health and NHS England to develop a new mental health protocol that will ensure timely access to mental health services so that courts are able to increase their use of mental health treatment requirements as part of a sentence. This will mean that we can intervene earlier, to prevent escalation that ends up in a prison sentence.

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