Offenders’ health will be assessed !
LOW-LEVEL offenders with mental health problems in Cornwall will now be assessed and treated in custody.
It is hoped it will enable people with mental health problems who are in contact with the police to get help more quickly, with specialist workers at custody centres in Redruth, Newquay and Launceston.
According to the Mental Health Foundation more than 70 per cent of the prison population have two or more mental health disorders.
The mental health workers have been funded as part of a national pilot scheme to create Criminal Justice Diversion Teams and will work alongside the police, courts and probation services.
They will form the county’s Custody and Outreach Team within Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT).
Paul Bell, manager of the Criminal Justice Diversion Team and CFT forensic services, said: “Basing ourselves in the police’s custody centres enables us to work alongside neighbourhood beat officers and teams to prevent vulnerable people from becoming involved in crime in the first place and to offer more effective support to reduce the likelihood of repeat offending.
“Small numbers of people with mental health problems commit crime, but they often have a number of things in common which can help us to identify them and step in early.
“For people who find themselves in custody, basing staff together makes it easier for joint assessments to be made by the police, health and psychiatric services.
“Working together in this way allows us to divert people away from the justice system and into health and social care services when it’s appropriate.”
Cornwall is one of 20 national pilots being run before criminal justice diversion teams are set up across the country in response to the Bradley Report, which reviewed the experiences of people with mental health problems and learning disabilities in the justice system.
It made 82 recommendations aimed at reducing repeat offending, detentions and court appearances, sparking the Government Green Paper, Breaking the Cycle, which acknowledged the criminal justice system was not always the best place to manage the problems of less serious offenders, particularly when the offending is linked to their mental health problems.
King’s College London, Devon and Cornwall Police, Cornwall Foundation Trust and the Institute of Health And Communities at Plymouth University are currently researching mental health and policing, which will help to assess the impact of the scheme particularly for the service’s users.
Credit : thisisCornwell.co.uk.:- http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Mental-health-workers-serve-custody-centres/story-16754313-detail/story.html