Equivalent to what? Mental health care in Britain's prisons

Graham Durcan (The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Publication date: 11 December 2006


Prisoners are supposed to receive health care that is equivalent to that provided in the community. There is a high prevalence of mental ill health in prisons, and prisoners tend to have complex needs. Prison mental health care has received only limited attention until recently. The impact of the new in ‐reach teams appears to have been positive, but primary mental health care is weak across the prison estate and the vast majority of prisoners with mental health problems still receive little or no service. The development of prison mental health care has not been evidence‐based and there has been no policy implementation guidance that compares to that provided for reforms in services for the wider community. There is no model for prison mental health care and the role of the prison mental health practitioner is not well defined, nor is the health care workforce prepared for the task.



Durcan, G. (2006), "Equivalent to what? Mental health care in Britain's prisons", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 1 No. 4, pp. 36-48. https://doi.org/10.1108/17556228200600029

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