Research finds more chance of re-offending if mental health issues are present
- 03 Sep
Researchers are calling for a better diagnosis and treatment for offenders in prison, and after release, who have a mental illness.
Research has found that ex-prisoners with mental health problems and drug and alcohol misuse are more likely to commit violent offences after release than other former prisoners, reports the Guardian.
A study from Oxford University has raised concern among experts that may lead to assumptions that people with mental health problems are more prone to violence than others; however the authors have said that this interpretation is wrong. They are calling for a better diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues for offenders both in and out of prison, to reduce re-offending rates.
Seena Fazel, lead author of the study and professor of forensic psychiatry at the University of Oxford said: “One in seven prisoners has a psychotic illness or major depression and around one in five enters prison with clinically significant substance abuse disorders. “As these disorders are common and mostly treatable, better screening and mental health services before and after release are essential to prevent future violence and improve both public health and safety. A lot of people have been very cautious in this area not to place too much emphasis on mental health problems linked with reoffending risk.”
Louis Appleby, national director for health and criminal justice and professor of psychiatry at the University of Manchester, and colleagues said nobody could disagree with the authors that better mental health care for prisoners and ex-offenders was needed.
Treatment of mental illness might only be effective “if the poor housing, substance misuse or absence of a job that are so common in released prisoners are also addressed,” they said.
“Governments and some justice agencies might be tempted by the simple message that the answers to issues in the criminal justice system lie with mental health services. Meanwhile, the claim that mental illness is a direct cause of violence will make uncomfortable reading in mental health. The implication of this study lies between the two: treatment of psychiatric disorders in prisons and on release is crucial, but will not be enough to bring about a major reduction in violent crime. Comprehensive packages of treatment and social support are needed that hold a therapeutic mirror to the complexity and adversity of offenders’ lives.”
Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said a prisoner may get a few sessions of help but then the good was undone when they went back to their cell and were offered illegal drugs, or became suicidal. “You can treat people, but in the end a prison environment is so toxic and at the moment is so awful that having a few sessions of treatment is a sticking plaster on a major wound. A prison is not an environment to treat people. You don’t send people to prison for treatment or education. You should offer them treatment they need, but people who are ill should not be in prison.”
What do you think of this? Tweet us your comments @suppsolutions
- 11 Sep
People in Bedfordshire can find mental health support through an audio guide
The guides have been written by clinical psychologists and are available to download in print or listen to as an audio file, reports Bedfordshire News.Dr Judy Baxter, Clinical Director with BCCG and...
- 10 Sep
Police officers in Dorset to receive mental health training
The partnership with the University comes as part of the county’s Mental Health Street Triage Project. It is hoped to equip officers with improved knowledge and skills to assess members of the...
- 09 Sep
People in Peterborough can refer themselves for mental health services
Through a drive to offer support to more people and ease pressure on doctors, people living in Peterborough can self-refer themselves to mental health services, reports Peterborough Today.Dr Adrian...
- 08 Sep
The first mental health centre for men
The site has been set up by Alex Eaton, whose dad took his own life and has suffered with mental health problems himself, in Burton upon Trent, reports BBC Newsbeat.Mr Eaton said: "We are the only...
- 07 Sep
NHS trust told no mental health beds available
Dr Bohdan Solomka has said that on Sunday a lack of beds were applied across the NHS and among private providers, reports the BBC. The director of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trusts...
- 07 Sep
Over 16,000 mental health referrals for young people have been rejected
Between July last year and June this year, data from the NHS has found that Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services rejected 5,396 referrals, reports STV News.Over the last three years 16,565...
- 04 Sep
New mental health centre to open in Ardwick
Plans to build a new £6m treatment and recovery centre in Manchester have been revealed. It will be built in Ardwick and be run by Alternative Futures Group, reports the Manchester Evening...
- 02 Sep
Drop in the number of people with mental health issues held in cells
Recent figures have found that the Crisis Care Concordat has seen over 10,000 people receive care from mental health nurses with the support from police officers, reports the Burton Mail.Figures have...
- 02 Sep
Mental health social work scheme accepting applications
100 places are now available for applicants who have a 2:1 or above undergraduate degree and can demonstrate attributes such as resilience and empathy, reports Community Care.The Think Ahead...
- 28 Aug
Rising number of young people needing mental health support
Figures have found that the number of young people aged under 18 referred to Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has risen by 84% since 2011/12, reports the Eastern Daily Press.Experts have said...
How to Fund Housing Support and Social Care Services Good clear delivery of some complicated information. Jaqui Smith - Young Womens Housing Project