Mind's response to Joint Committee on Human Rights report
Posted Tuesday 14 December 2004
Richard Brook, Chief Executive of Mind said,
"This report is a damning indictment of Britain's jails. It brings home the inadequacy of the prison system in coping with the huge rise in vulnerable people awaiting trial or being sentenced to custody. The current record number of suicides is testament both to the high incidence of mental distress among prisoners and to a palpable lack of staff training in mental health awareness.
"Prisons simply do not have the facilities or expertise to provide any meaningful assessment of prisoners' mental health needs. Prisoners with existing mental health problems inevitably find their mental health deteriorating once they are locked up. Rather than addressing issues that might in some way have led to an individual's brush with the law, prison appears to be a good greenhouse for developing and growing a mental health problem.
But prisons are not the end of this sad story. Preventable deaths of people with mental health problems regularly occur with other forms of custody - both on secure mental health wards and in police stations. There are particular concerns here around the treatment of young black men - particularly in so-called control and restraint incidents. Death and injury has been caused by over-medication or violent restraint by staff on far too many occasions and the report is right to address this."
Mind is calling for a full implementation of the Joint Commitee's recommendations.