Prisoners: Disability and Older People

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 28th January 2020.

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Photo of Liz Saville-Roberts Liz Saville-Roberts Shadow PC Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Women and Equalities) , Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader, Shadow PC Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he has taken to ensure that (a) elderly people and (b) elderly disabled people have access to high-quality social care in prisons in (i) Wales and (ii) England.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The Care Act 2014 and the equivalent Welsh legislation, the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, clarified that local authorities in England and Wales are responsible for undertaking assessments and making arrangements to meet eligible needs for social care for those people residing in prisons, approved premises and bail accommodation within their geographical boundary. Under the legislation, the threshold for eligibility for care and support services in prisons in both England and Wales is the same as for people who are living in the community, and this applies whether or not they are disabled. Local authorities need to have processes in place to respond to referrals, undertake assessments and deliver care for those in prison settings. Prison custodial services, healthcare services and individuals with needs can all make a referral for assessment.

In September 2018, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons and the Care Quality Commission carried out a joint thematic report on Social Care in Prisons in England and Wales. The review identified several examples of good practice but also wide variations in the provision of social care to prisoners across the prison estate. In response, HMPPS published an action plan in December 2018, setting out its response to the recommendations in the joint thematic report. A programme of work is underway to deliver this response. For example, memoranda of understanding have been put in place between many prisons and local authorities. Work is progressing towards establishing a national partnership social care board for prisons, which is expected to sit later this year.

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