Publications and resources



Our standards for Prison Mental Health Services are a framework to assess the quality of prison mental health services through self and peer review.

The specialist standards also use the CCQI standards for community-based mental health services (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2015).

The first edition was published in June 2015 following an extensive process of consultation with various stakeholders.

The second and third edition were created to reflect the feedback we'd received from those who took part in the review cycles. It also looked at new developments within the field of prison mental health. The standards include 2016 NICE guidance on the physical health of people in prison.

The fourth (and current) edition was published in September 2018. These now incorporate the 24 hour mental healthcare standards (below).

All criteria are rated as Type 1, 2 or 3

  1. Essential standards. Failure to meet these would result in a significant threat to patient safety, rights or dignity and/or would breach the law. These standards also include the fundamentals of care, including the provision of evidence based care and treatment
  2. Expected standards that all services should meet
  3. Desirable standards that high performing services should meet.

Standards for 24 Hour Mental Healthcare in Prisons

These standards provide a framework for improving quality in prison mental health services with inpatient provisions or enhanced care facilities.

They've been developed following extensive consultation with key stakeholders and a thorough examination of the key literature.

These standards can be used by member services of the Quality Network as an optional addition to the existing set of standards for prison mental health services that form the basis of self and peer-reviews.

Our annual reports summarise findings from the review visits that are conducted over each year.

They outline the current climate within prison mental health nationally, identifying best practice as well as the key areas of challenge experienced by participating services.

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Creative writing booklet

This Summer for the first time ever the Quality Networks for Forensic and Prison Mental Health Services launched a creative writing competition for patients. We received some fantastic entries and have showcased all the entries in this special edition creative writing booklet:

Creative writing booklet (2020)

We have moved our email discussion groups onto a new, free to join, online forum called knowledge hub. All our members are invited to join the QNPMHS discussion forum on knowledge hub, which will allow you to:

  • Share best practice and quality improvement initiatives
  • Seek advice and connect with other members
  • Discuss current issues and policies
  • Share policies, procedures and guidelines
  • Advertise and view upcoming events and conferences

To join knowledge hub, please email ‘join knowledge hub’ to:

Planning effective mental healthcare in prisons using the Care Programme Approach and the Community Mental Health Framework

This work stemmed from our April 2019 event with Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV). Within prison settings, CPA has been poorly implemented and the principles underpinning the approach have been lost. QNPMHS and TEWV have been working collaboratively since the beginning of last year to create a thorough and effective guidance document to help support clinicians and services with the CPA process.

Purpose of the document

The purpose of the document is to standardise the CPA and successor processes and to ensure consistency within and between prisons and through transfers from and to community services. The guidance will also be helpful for immigration removal centres.

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