Care of mentally ill prisoners well below NHS standards

April 13, 2000

Inpatient care of mentally ill people in prison: results of a year's programme of semistructured inspections

The care of mentally ill prisoners in prison healthcare centres falls well below that provided for mentally ill patients in the NHS, finds research in this week's BMJ. Most prison inpatients are mentally ill and the Prison Service has aimed to provide the same standard of health care as the NHS since 1991.

Reed and Lyne from HM Inspectorate of Prisons, conducted a semi-structured survey of 13 prisons with inpatient units in England and Wales as part of the routine prisons inspection programme during 1997-98. The 13 prisons had 348 beds, 20 per cent of all inpatient prison bed capacity.

The survey revealed that facilities were often poor, staff numbers were low, and many staff were not sufficiently trained. Only one in five of the nursing staff had received mental health training, and almost a third had not had nurse training. None of the doctors in charge of inpatients had completed specialist psychiatric training. Most prisons kept patients unlocked for around 3.5 hours a day rather than the 12 hours required by current prison service standards. Therapeutic activity was limited, and periods of exclusion were lengthy, averaging 50 hours.

The authors conclude that prison should provide an ideal opportunity to diagnose and treat mental disorders among people who don't often use NHS services, and to ensure they receive appropriate treatment. And this not only benefits those who are ill but also the community at large when they are released. But they found little evidence that this was being effectively carried out. They call for more NHS involvement in treating mentally ill prisoners.
-end-
Contact:

Dr John Reed, through Jean Ward at the Home Office, London




BMJ

Related Prison Articles from Brightsurf:

Providing child support after prison: Some state policies may miss the mark
Many states have policies that attempt to help formerly incarcerated people find work by limiting an employer's ability to access or use criminal records as part of the hiring process.

Study: Visitor's garden is improving prison visitation experience for all
New research shows that a visitor's garden designed and built by Iowa State University students and incarcerated individuals at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women is helping to strengthen connections between the women and their children.

Leaving care of the children's home -- for prison?
When 18-year-old youths transition out of children's homes, what crimes do they commit?

Glaucoma care in prison inmates
Data fromĀ 82 prison inmates treated in a glaucoma clinic at an academic hospital were used in this observational study to report on how treatment and follow-up, including medication adherence, were are managed.

Solitary confinement significantly increases post-prison death risk
Even just a few days of solitary confinement may significantly increase inmates' risk of death after serving their sentences.

40% of people did not visit a family doctor after being released from prison
A new study analyzing the experiences of people released from provincial prison in Ontario in 2010 has found that 60% of people who were in Ontario's prison system were seen by a family doctor in the two years after being released from prison compared to 85% of people in the general population.

Restrictive housing is associated with increased risk of death after release from prison
A new study led by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found that being held in restrictive housing (i.e., solitary confinement) is associated with an increased risk of death after a person is released from prison.

Combating prison recidivism with plants
The United States currently incarcerates the greatest percentage of its population compared with any other nation in the world.

Prison-based college presents challenges, but can succeed, study finds
Interest in prison-based education has grown in recent years as an approach to reduce recidivism and improve the future of people who are incarcerated for crimes.

Prison tobacco ban significantly reduces secondhand smoke
Levels of secondhand smoke in Scotland's prisons fell by more than 80% in the week after smoking was banned, according to new University of Stirling research.

Read More: Prison News and Prison Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.