Triple prison mental health staff, urges charity

The number of dedicated staff for prisoners diagnosed with a severe mental health illness should be tripled. This will ensure they get an equivalent level of service as patients in the community, states a new report.

The Sainsbury Centre For Mental Health investigated spending on prison mental health care in England and Wales.

On average, a prison mental health inreach team has four staff, stated its report entitled Short-Changed. But this should increase to 12.

There are more than 350 prison inreach workers in 102 prisons in England and Wales. But only people diagnosed with a severe mental illness can access them.

Around 4,700 prisoners receive inreach care and treatment. But eight out of 10 (85%) of inreach team leaders say their teams are inadequately staffed, states the report.

As many as 90% of 81,681 prisoners have a diagnosed mental illness or substance abuse problem, the government acknowledges.

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