Men­tal health care of peo­ple in prison

The Guardian - - JOURNAL -

The prison and courts bill has its sec­ond read­ing in par­lia­ment to­day. For the first time, the pur­pose of pris­ons will be en­shrined in law. We sup­port the Royal Col­lege of Psy­chi­a­trists in urg­ing the gov­ern­ment to en­sure pris­ons meet the men­tal and phys­i­cal health needs of pris­on­ers. Al­most a quar­ter of the prison pop­u­la­tion suf­fers from per­son­al­ity disor­ders, bipo­lar dis­or­der or de­pres­sion. Pris­on­ers will even­tu­ally re­turn to the com­mu­nity. When they are re­leased, any un­treated men­tal ill­ness is re­leased with them. Pris­ons must be clearly re­spon­si­ble for tack­ling the men­tal disor­ders, which if left un­treated, could cause pris­on­ers to re­of­fend. The prison and courts bill is an op­por­tu­nity to pre­vent prison sui­cide, re­duce re­of­fend­ing and fos­ter re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. We urge the gov­ern­ment not to waste it. Nor­man Lamb MP Lib Dem health lead, Richard Bur­gon MP Shadow sec­re­tary of

state for Jus­tice, Dan Poul­ter MP For­mer health min­is­ter (Con), Kate Green MP Vice-chair, all-party par­lia­men­tary group on pe­nal af­fairs (Lab), Johnny Mercer MP Vice-chair, APPG on men­tal health (Con)

• There are sev­eral rea­sons why Eng­land and Wales have the high­est im­pris­on­ment rate in western Europe (Re­port, 15 March). There is shock­ing de­pri­va­tion in many cities and ever-ris­ing home­less­ness. The sin­gle adult un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fit is £73.10 a week; it has re­duced in value since 1979 and has not been in­creased since April 2015. That £73.10 a week is in­ca­pable of pro­vid­ing a healthy diet and other ne­ces­si­ties for a woman dur­ing the devel­op­ment of a child in her womb. Poor ma­ter­nal nu­tri­tion and low birth weight have, since 1972, been called he strong­est pre­dic­tor of poor learn­ing abil­ity, school per­for­mance, be­hav­ioral disor­ders and crime by the In­sti­tute of Brain Chem­istry and Hu­man Nu­tri­tion.

Rev Paul Ni­col­son Tax­pay­ers Against Poverty

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