NHS England/Improvement has commissioned Centre for Mental Health to conduct a review about the future of prison mental health care in England.

Since this review was commissioned the nation has been struck by the Coronavirus crisis. As a particularly virulent communicable disease it poses significant problems in a prison environment, the immediate risk being sickness, sometimes serious and life threatening, in both staff and inmates. But it also poses a significant addition mental health challenge in an already mentally challenging environment, for those who reside and those who work in prisons. The review will also address this how such crises should be managed.

Centre for Mental Health will review the literature, run a number of consultation events/webinars across England and conduct telephone interviews. We are also seeking short statements of written evidence that can be submitted by email, for the attention of Dr Graham Durcan, to prisonmh@centreformentalhealth.org.uk.

The review will cover a broad range of issues, including but not limited to:

  • Older prisoners
  • Young adult prisoners
  • Remand and unsentenced
  • Short sentenced
  • Female prisoners
  • BAME prisoners
  • Gypsy, Roma and Traveller prisoners
  • Different categories of prison
  • Prison ‘hospital’ care
  • Transfer and remission (to/from secure mental healthcare)
  • Release, continuity of care and ‘through the gate’
  • Personality disorder
  • Comorbid conditions (mental and physical)
  • Related vulnerabilities
  • Primary mental healthcare
  • Psychological interventions
  • Self-harm and suicide
  • Trauma (prisoner and staff)

We are keen to receive evidence of up to 1,000 words on any of these topics to help us to consider the future mental health needs of prisoners. We are especially keen to hear evidence about:

  • How far mental health support in prisons is currently meeting need
  • Examples of promising or good practice
  • Areas for further development and improvement
  • How needs are likely to change in future and what this might mean for prison health services.

We invite anyone with knowledge and expertise, including those with lived experience, to take part in the review by contacting Graham via prisonmh@centreformentalhealth.org.uk. The review will close on Friday June 5th 2020.

Last updated: 31st March, 2020