Information pathways into prison mental health care [2017]

Police and court liaison and diversion services provide important specialist mental health input along critical stages of the criminal justice pathway. Effective sharing of information between the services and relevant justice agencies is essential. However, various problems exist with the flow of information between agencies and services across the criminal justice pathway. This service evaluation explored how clinically relevant information is transferred, by drawing on the perspectives of prison health care staff in a large urban UK male prison. A qualitative service evaluation was conducted using semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 11 prison staff. The main themes included: gaps in the transfer of essential information, (particularly concerning risk and offending information); information gathering to fill these gaps; the importance of professional relationships, information sharing between agencies; and information solutions. Improving information transfer across the criminal justice pathway could prevent treatment delays and ensure more timely mental health care in prison.

Chiara Samele, Norman Urquía, Karen Slade ORCID Icon & Andrew Forrester

The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, Volume 28, 2017 – Issue 4