Mental health campaigner Jo Roberts has published an Action Plan which sets out how we can improve the lives of people with a serious mental illness who get in trouble with the law. It follows a summer-led campaign supported by charities Hafal, Bipolar UK, Diverse Cymru, CAIS and Hafal Crossroads which included a national survey and seminar.
Jo said: “We talked to over 300 service users, carers and interested professionals and held an all-Wales seminar to find out how we can improve the lives of people with a serious mental illness who get in trouble with the law – or just encounter criminal justice agencies when they become unwell. The new report shares what we found out and to sets out some key actions.”
Some of the key difficulties identified in the report include:-
- Not enough done to prevent people with a mental illness from entering the Criminal Justice System
- Lack of training and resources relating to mental health for criminal justice professionals
- Lack of communication and information in courts
- Poor treatment for mental illness in prisons
- Little support provided during resettlement.
Some of the key actions suggested in the report include:-
- Developing a specialised pathway for people with a mental illness who enter the criminal justice system
- Ensuring nobody with a serious mental illness is held in a police cell or prison
- Making recovery and resettlement the foremost concern at all stages of the criminal justice pathway
- Addressing inequalities, in particular the disproportionate representation of people from black and minority ethnic communities in the criminal justice system
- Supporting carers and families.