About the conference
Best Practice in Mental Health in the Criminal Justice System
With approximately 85,000 people, both male and female, populating the prisons around the United Kingdom, understanding the need for adequate mental health care should be a priority. With the costs of keeping a single prisoner locked up amounting to almost £40,000 per year, focusing on more effective mental health care to address issues regarding criminal behaviour can save the state millions of pounds. The aim of this event should be two-fold: firstly, focusing on dealing with the mental health behaviours of people that make them repeat offenders, in order that they can be reintegrated into society, and secondly, dealing with the poor mental health services available for offenders during the duration of their custody or sentence.
This one-day conference will bring together leading authorities from the NHS, Police, Courts, Prisons, Voluntary Organisations and psychologists working with criminals. The primary focus is to promote mental health and wellbeing for individuals who get caught up with the criminal justice system. Due to the difficulty in understanding or knowing the various needs of those in the criminal justice system, these professionals are partnering up with us to deliver this conference to shed light on the demands, the lack and the focus of mental health care in this system. Additionally, they will cover the challenges, opportunities and advantages of their various organisations. Their goal is to inevitably create a criminal justice system which is more coordinated, with a well-implemented, integrated and focused mental health care plan for those in their system, not only for offenders, but also for staff and other personnel.
This conference addresses the current challenges in the criminal justice system to handle, treat and care for people suffering from mental health and mental disability. Prisoners should not be denied the right to quality health care that is suited to their health concerns. Even more so, if their health concern is centred around mental health issues. Many working in these systems agree that some form of structure needs to be put into place in order that they can respond appropriately to the needs and fears of vulnerable people. The issues surrounding this minority group can be better understood and is highlighted in the soon-to-be published guidelines "Mental health of adults in contact with the criminal justice system" by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Many studies have proven and shown the link between mental health, mental disability and criminal activity. There is a higher prevalence of people with mental disorders in our prison population, and this number is significant and ever increasing. The reasons and factors why there are more mental or behaviourally disordered individuals in the prison population, than there are in the general public population, is still not well understood or clear, but there is a definite need for better mental health care for prisoners. The high number of mental health patients in the criminal justice system has led to the stigma that people suffering from mental health are dangerous to themselves and to the public. Unfortunately, the reason why people have this perception is due to the failure to provide adequate mental health care and rehabilitation before, during and after imprisonment.
In many cases, individuals with a mental health issue will have difficulties moving through the criminal justice system due to limited access to treatment. This can result in serving indeterminate sentences where their mental disorders continue to go undiagnosed and untreated.
This conference will explore how best to respond to mental health issues in prisons in order to improve the mental health needs of prisoners, how best to support prison employees and how best to safeguard the broader community. The conference will look at practical methods, programmes and interventions that benefits people who are at high risk of social exclusion, poor mental health and offending or repeat offending. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of partnership working and the service user experience.
Benefits of Attending:
Learn more and become more familiar with the complex mental health needs of the prison population and the importance of effective screening on entry to the justice system
Further your knowledge on how offenders with mental health issues and learning disabilities can have better access to appropriate treatments whilst in prison
Hear from liaison and diversion teams about how they have achieved and improved access to mental health provision
Hear first-hand what service users have to say about their experience and how their feedback can improve services in the future
Gain an opportunity to network with other professionals who are interested in the field