Prison Officers: Training

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 2nd March 2017.

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Photo of Richard Burgon Richard Burgon Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if she will list what mental health training courses are available to prison officers who are not Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork assessors after those officers have completed prison officer entry level training.

Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We are committed to making prisons places of safety and reform and giving prisoners the support and treatment they need to help turn their lives around.

All prisons have established procedures in place to identify, manage and help prisoners with mental health issues. Increased support is now available to those at risk of self-harm or suicide, especially in the first 24 hours, and we have invested in mental health awareness training for staff.

All establishments provide The ‘Introduction to Mental Health’ which covers the factors which cause mental ill-health and the main types of disorders which offenders can display and ‘Introduction to Safer Custody’ course which are delivered locally for all prison officers.

There is also a ‘Personality Disorder’ module within the ‘Introduction to Mental Health’ course, and the ‘Introduction to Safer Custody’ course, for Prison Officers which highlights the impact a personality disorder may have on an offender and how they can be supported. It also explains how to respond to challenging behaviour from an offender with this type of disorder. As part of the accredited Personality Disorder Knowledge and Understanding framework (PD-KUF) awareness level training is widely available to prison-based staff. Further non-accredited ‘Personality Disorder’ training is offered at prisons that host an Offender Personality Disorder treatment service.

‘Emotional and Mental Wellbeing’ training is delivered to officers who will be working in the Young People’s Estate. This training outlines the factors which influence typical and atypical developments during adolescence and ensures learners can identify when an offender requires specialist support and referral.

There is an ‘Enhanced Mental Health’ course which is run locally for Case Managers and Assessment Care in Custody Treatment (ACCT) Assessors only as they are the point of contact for an offender who is identified to be at risk. Within this training learners are taught to identify signs and symptoms for the various forms of mental ill-health, how to manage the offender and when it is necessary to seek help from healthcare professionals.

For note, there are also a number of establishments who have worked with NHS trusts to commission bespoke mental health training

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