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Home Industry News New NICE guidance released on mental health within criminal justice system

New NICE guidance released on mental health within criminal justice system

10th October 2016

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has released new draft guidance to address mental health issues within the criminal justice system.

Designed to help improve the assessment, treatment and prevention of mental health problems, it will apply to any adults coming into contact with England's criminal justice system, including those serving a community or prison sentence, or people on probationary periods.

Recommendations include immediate referral of those deemed to be at risk of a mental health problem to the prison's mental health inreach team before they are allocated to a cell, as well as improvements to the management of urgent problems presenting in the community by better coordinating the criminal justice and healthcare services.

Efforts should also be made to establish therapeutic community programmes within the prison, while all criminal justice staff should be trained on the prevalence of mental health problems within their working environment.

This is a problem that demands an urgent solution, as up to 90 percent of prisoners have some form of mental health problem.

Professor Mark Baker, director for the centre of clinical practice at NICE, said: "Delivering care in such a restrictive environment is difficult, but it cannot become a barrier or excuse. People in prison must receive the same level of care as offered to those outside."

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