Accessibility Page Navigation
Style sheets must be enabled to view this page as it was intended.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness


Our standards, annual reports and other resources.


Our standards

Browser does not support script.

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. These are now incorporated within the Fourth (and current) edition standards.

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.


Annual reports

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.





Email discussion group

The email discussion group provides an opportunity for staff to post queries to other member services and to share best practice and lessons learnt.

Please sign up as many members of staff who would like to join by sending ‘join’ to


Login - Members Area

If you don't have an account please Click here to Register

Make a Donation