Cash needed for prison health27th May 2008
Experts have warned that not enough funding is being put into mental health treatment in prisons and care is suffering as a result.
Research has shown that £300 per year is invested on mental health care for prisoners. This is one third of the amount which is invested on those with mental health issues in the non-prison population.
In 2006, the health service became responsible for the provision of health care to prisoners in England and Wales. It had previously been provided by the Prison Health Service.
More than 90% of prisoners have "at least one type" of mental health issue. The danger of a prisoner killing themselves is seven times that of the non-prison population.
NHS data was analysed by a team from the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health and Lincoln University.
The team found that 4,700 prisoners were supported by mental health "in-reach" teams, which are designated to those prisoners with "severe" issues.
However, this represented "much less" care than was required by the one in 12 of the 80,000 prison population.
The research showed there was a difference in spending according to the region the care was provided in. £416 was spent on average per prisoner in London, in comparison to £182 in the East Midlands.
Sean Duggan, from the Sainsbury Centre, said: "Many in-reach teams are struggling to offer a decent service in the face of inadequate funding and very high levels of need among prisoners."
"We need to see a major boost in spending across the country, especially in those areas that are falling behind."
Care services minister Ivan Lewis admitted there was a "long way to go", but added that investment had increased from £118 million in 2003 to more than £200 million today.
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Title: Cash needed for prison health
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 6893
Date Added: 27th May 2008