The government has today published its response to Lord Bradley's report on people with mental health problems and learning difficulties in the Criminal Justice System.
In December 2007 the Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw, invited Lord Keith Bradley to lead an independent inquiry into diversion of offenders with mental health problems or learning disabilities away from prison into other more appropriate services.
The report published today has been welcomed by ministers across government, including Department of Health, Ministry of Justice, Home Office and Department for Children, Schools and Families who recognise the need for reform in this area and the necessity for more joined up services to strengthen capacity and take forward this work.
A Health and Criminal Justice National Programme Board will be set up by the end of May to bring together the relevant departments covering health, social care and criminal justice for children and adults. The first priority for the board will be to consider Lord Bradley’s recommendations and develop a national delivery plan by October 2009. A National Advisory Board will also be established to ensure wider involvement from interested organisations.
David Hanson, Minister for Justice said:
‘I am grateful to Lord Bradley for his report. The government will now support the direction set out by Lord Bradley and the changes that we need to divert offenders with particular mental health problems away from prison and into more appropriate services. I particularly welcome the establishment of the National Programme Board and National Advisory Board.
‘He has recognised the considerable progress already made in reforming health services for offenders. Prison health is now embedded in the NHS and delivered in partnership with the National Offender Management Service. We have also increased availability of drug treatment services. We will do more to achieve better outcomes overall, in the interests of victims, to better protect the public and further reduce reoffending.’
Phil Hope, Minister for Care Services said:
‘I welcome Lord Bradley's very thorough report and we now have a responsibility to make his vision a reality. People with mental health problems and learning disabilities deserve high quality health services to lead full, active and law abiding lives. We recognise, with Lord Bradley, that in improving access to these health services public protection remains a priority.
‘Part of the way forward is to make sure that the NHS and criminal justice services work together effectively by improving commissioning, training and the development of staff. I look forward to working with the National Programme Board and Advisory Group to tackle these important issues.’
Vernon Coaker, Minister for Policing, Crime and Security said:
‘I very much welcome Lord Bradley’s review and the recognition of the need for greater engagement by health services and healthcare providers at police stations.
‘We will use Lord Bradley’s review to build on the existing good practice that takes place in many police stations as we recognise that early intervention of healthcare professionals can help reduce the risk of harm to the individual and minimise any dangers to police officers and others. It can also help disrupt criminal lifestyles and help prevent further reoffending.’
Beverley Hughes, Minister for Children and Young People said:
‘We want to prevent all young people from entering the criminal justice system, including identifying those young people with behavioural and or mental health problems that are at high risk. By intervening early to support vulnerable children and young people and working with young people most at risk of offending we can help turn around their behaviour and help prevent their offending. The government has committed, following the review of Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services, to provide better access to support and information and make clear what is available locally to help meet the mental health needs of children, and help their families.
‘We also set out how to better support young people if they do enter the criminal justice system and the establishment of a Health and Criminal Justice National Programme Board will ensure local services work together to identify young offenders who need further support.’
Notes for editors
The Bradley Report – Lord Bradley’s review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the Criminal Justice System
Written ministerial statement and government response
The Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw announced a review into diversion of offenders away from prison on 5 December 2007, during his ministerial statement on Lord Carter’s Review of Prisons. Lord Keith Bradley, former Home Office Minister, was appointed to Chair the review.
Lord Bradley completed his review and reported his findings to government on 25 February. The report broadly recommends better assessment at the earliest possible opportunity, and improved continuity of care for people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the criminal justice system.
The report has made 82 recommendations, the overwhelming majority of which the government either fully accepts, or accepts in principle. However, Lord Bradley’s report itself recognises many recommendations are longer term and will need further work to ensure that all implications are considered. A Health and Criminal National Programme Board will be set up to prepare a delivery plan and oversee the implementation of recommendations.
For further information please contact:
Ministry of Justice press office: 020 3334 3518
Department of Health press office: 0207 210 5221
Home Office press office: 020 7035 3830
Department for Children, Schools and Families press office: 020 7340 8188.
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