Reoffenders: Mental Illness

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 26th November 2021.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to A joint thematic inspection of the criminal justice journey for individuals with mental health needs and disorders, published on 17 November 2021, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of prison leaver homelessness on reoffending linked to mental ill-health.

Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to A joint thematic inspection of the criminal justice journey for individuals with mental health needs and disorders, published on 17 November 2021, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect on reoffending of the length of waiting lists for (a) mental health assessments in the community and (b) mental health treatments in the community.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister for Afghan resettlement

The MoJ welcomes the joint thematic inspection of the criminal justice journey for individuals with mental health needs and disorders and will be providing a formal response and supporting action plan with HMPPS, DHSC and NHSE/I in the new year.

The Government is committed to tackling the causes of reoffending to keep our communities safe. We know there is a link between homelessness and reoffending; offenders without settled accommodation are around 50 percent more likely to reoffend. As part of the Beating Crime plan, MoJ have delivered a new transitional accommodation service for offenders leaving prison at risk of homelessness. Launched initially in five probation regions this July it is offering up to 12 weeks temporary accommodation and support to prison leavers to facilitate them into settled accommodation.

My department is supporting efforts to ensure those with mental health needs are referred to community services for assessment and treatment in a timely fashion through such work as the NHS’ RECONNECT scheme which provides a care after prison custody service to support patients through all healthcare pathways including mental health. Integrated Offender Management (IOM) schemes include clear pathways to support mental health services to help address the root cause of criminal behaviour. By facilitating offenders’ access to these services, we are helping them turn their back on crime.

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