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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Prisons Bill bid

The college is lobbying for an amendment to the Prison and Courts bill to make sure prisons are clearly responsible for looking after the mental and physical health needs of prisoners.

Responding to a Government Committee investigating prison suicide, forensic psychiatrists told of

  • routinely cancelled appointments due to the lack of prison officers to escort patients from the wings
  • verbal abuse from prisoners and in one case, physical assault on a psychiatrist
  • regular changes to third sector providers preventing the delivery of a strong and consistent service

The college’s communications team highlighted these concerns via a letter to the Guardian, coverage in the Observer and activity on social media.

We’ve been supported by cross party MPs including shadow secretary of state for justice Richard Burgon, Norman Lamb, Dr Sarah Wollaston, Johnny Mercer, Dan Poulter, Yasmin Qureshi and Luciana Berger.

Helen Jones MP tabled a parliamentary question asking how many prisons have an onsite psychiatrist.

The college will continue to push the issue of prison mental health as the Bill progresses through Parliament.


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