Prisons: Mental Health Services

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 29th January 2020.

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Photo of Chris Evans Chris Evans Labour/Co-operative, Islwyn

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of mental healthcare provision in UK prisons.

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

Health services in prisons are commissioned by NHS England and Improvement (NHSE/I) who are responsible for making assessments of the current provision of mental health services in the prison system in England. In Wales, health is devolved to the Welsh Government where separate arrangements are made.

We take mental health provision very seriously and are committed to working closely with health partners to ensure that offenders are able to access the treatment and support required for their mental health needs. The health and justice partners include: Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), NHSE/I, and Public Health England (PHE). In prisons, this relationship has been formally set out in the National Partnership Agreement for Prison Healthcare in England, which has been in place since April 2018. Its associated workplan sets out a detailed programme of work, agreed by health and justice partners, to deliver safe, decent, effective healthcare for offenders.

We recognise the importance of the prison environment for enabling better health outcomes. For example, we have worked to refresh safety training packages, with staff receiving training in key areas such as mental health and substance misuse. Over 25,000 new and existing prison staff (including those who work for other bodies) have now completed at least one module of the revised suicide and self-harm prevention training; 14,000 staff have received all six modules.

We continue to work with our partners to improve mental healthcare in prisons.

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