Teenagers experiencing mental health problems will no longer be detained in police cells as a “place of safety”.
Home Secretary Theresa May will announce later an overhaul of mental health laws in England and Wales.
The government review is also set to recommend adults should only be kept in a police cell as a place of safety in exceptional circumstances.
Those of us who have been campaigning over the last few years to save public services from government cuts and austerity have been known to say, only half jokingly, that when the Tories are done, there will be “nothing left”. But this isn’t true. Tory austerity measures are a full on ideological assault. Their economic policy masks a concerted attempt to demonise the poorest and encourage people to think that the unemployed, the ill, the disabled, immigrants, asylum seekers and the old aren’t “deserving”. Thus the future is not one without public services. It is one where minimal services are delivered, by privatised corporations, to those who are deemed worthy.
Parts of the country have no places of safety to assess vulnerable children suffering from a mental health crisis, forcing them to be locked in prison cells or police vans for hours at a time.
Maps revealing the mental health units and hospitals where people can be detained if police believe they are a danger to themselves or others because of a mental health problem show Norfolk, Hampshire and Devon have not one dedicated place of safety for children under 16.
Inside the Notorious Yarl’s Wood Immigration Detention Centre
usan wrings her hands and twitches as she speaks, jerking her head from side to side. She is clearly not well. “I ate washing powder to try and kill myself,” says the nervous woman in her fifties. Her eyes flash wild. “It was all I could find. I wanted to die. I would rather die than go back.”
Susan, whose name has been changed, as have those of all the residents quoted in this article, at their own request, says she was a campaigner for human rights in her country of birth in South East Asia but that she fled after her mother was murdered by those she opposed. That trauma forced her to flee to England – not Britain’s superb welfare system or the lax immigration controls that prompted the mayor of the French town of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, to descibe the UK as an “El Dorado” for immigrants last week.
Prisoners with mental health problems will be treated inside jails rather than in hospitals under plans being considered by the Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary.
A consultation due to begin next month is expected to explore the possibility of building specialist units within existing prisons to house and treat inmates with a range of mental health issues.
Criminals who have done their time will be taken to a new rehabilitation centre around the corner and will be mentored by specially-trained ex-offenders, known as ‘gate buddies’
Prisoners coming out of Strangeways will be met at the gates by fellow ex-criminals in a new rehabilitation scheme aimed at helping them beat drugs.
Criminals who have done their time will be taken to a rehabilitation centre around the corner and will be mentored by specially-trained ex-offenders, known as ‘gate buddies’.
The Abstinence and Rehabilitation Centre, or ARC, will offer counselling and mentoring, plus help to beat their addiction and find accommodation.
The justice secretary says he wants to “really get to grips with the challenge of mental health in prisons” soon after next year’s general election. “I want every prisoner who needs it to have access to the best possible treatment. I want mental health to be the priority for our system,” he said in a speech on Monday to the Centre for Crime and Social Justice in London.