Prison Sentences: Mental Illness

Ministry of Justice written question – answered at on 10 September 2021.

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Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Labour, Washington and Sunderland West

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number of people who received a custodial sentence aged (a) 13 to 18 and (b) 19 to 21 who were receiving treatment for a mental health condition prior to sentencing since 2018.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The Ministry of Justice takes mental health provision very seriously and is 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. NHS England and NHSE Improvement (NHSE/I) are responsible for commissioning healthcare services, including mental health treatment, in all prisons in England.

The full information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. This is because it would require manually searching case files. However, the questions can, in part, be answered by published statistics in the Criminal Justice Statistics annual report data tools.

The Ministry of Justice publishes court outcomes by offence, remand status, sex, age and several other characteristics. This information from 2010 to 2020 is available in Criminal Justice Statistics 2020 annual report here, see in the following data tools:

  • Outcomes by offence data tool
  • Remands: Magistrates’ court data tool
  • Remands: Crown Court data tool

Note that offences are recorded under the specific offence recorded in law, so while violence is an offence group, gang-related violence is not centrally held in the court proceedings database and could only be obtained by manually searching court records at disproportionate costs. The same applies for address/local authority of defendants. In addition, some of the information requested in the above questions (regarding: education in alternative provision; exclusion from school; and treatment for a mental health condition) is not centrally held in the court proceedings database or Prison-NOMIS (Prison National Offender Management Information System) database and can only be provided by manually searching court and prison records (where medical and personal records were self-declared) at disproportionate cost.

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