Care not Custody is a promise worth keeping

Mental Health Solitudeoriginally by: The Guardian
published: 10 Jan 2014

We welcome the announcement of the government’s determination to keep its Care not Custody promise (Hopes mental health nurses in courts will cut reoffending rates, 4 January). However, we note that the initial commitment for delivery of national liaison and diversion services by 2014 will not now be met.

For too long people with a mental health need or learning disability, who should be diverted from police stations and courts into treatment or social care, have ended up in prison as a default option, while others are left without the support they need as they continue through the justice process.

High numbers of people in prison have mental health needs, and nearly half of all women in prison and over a fifth of men have attempted suicide at some point in their lives compared with 6% of the general population. The Care not Custody initiative was inspired by the tragic suicide of a young man with schizophrenia in Manchester prison, the son of a WI member.

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