Concerns over Mental Health in Prisons

  • A Jersey prison has been declared an inappropriate place for prisoners with mental health problems.

    The checks on prisoner welfare highlighted issues that prisoners with mental health problems suffer and said more needed to be done to help them.

     Self Portrait 2Concerns have been raised about Jersey prisoners suffering from mental health problems by a group which checks prisoner welfare.

    More than 70% of the prison population as a whole have two or more mental health disorders (Social Exclusion Unit, 2004), and in some prisons more needs to be done to help them.

    Prisons have found that the number of prisoners with mental health problems has risen over the years, and this has caused the staff to react to this and work differently but there are still more changes that need to happen.

    Some have attributed some of the increase to a rising use of drugs, but it could also be being in prison itself that is causing the problems. The treatment in prisons, even though it may be justifiable, can be a cause for severe and long-term mental health issues.

    The Prison Board of Visitors, who check the prisoner welfare, said the Jersey prison was not an appropriate place for prisoners with mental health issues.

    The annual report said they were a drain on resources and as well as a potential source of harm to both staff and inmates; suicide rate in prisons is almost 15 times higher than in the general population.

    The board are concerned about the length of time some prisoners are held on remand. said more should be done to help prisoners reintegrate into the community. The likely development of mental health issues in prison can make it even more difficult to re-integrate back in to society.

    The money spent on better treatment for prisoners can actually save the tax payer more money, and more mental health services is one way to help.

     Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/747910

     


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