BCBN is delighted to announce that with the support of our grant initiative and the Eleanor Rathbone Charitable Trust, Penal Reform International (PRI), in partnership with the Prison Reform Trust (PRT), has published a guide for prison and probation staff to help them understand how prison life can affect a person’s mental health, with a focus on women. The guide aims to break down the stigma and discrimination attached to poor mental health, especially for women in prison.
“A high proportion of women in prison have poor mental health. Prison staff have an important role to play in protecting and promoting health and well-being in prison. The guide aims to break down the stigma and discrimination attached to poor mental health, especially for women in prison by providing practical guidance to prison staff on the many ways to support the mental well-being of women in prison, on a daily basis and at a more institutional level.” explains Olivia Rope, Director of Policy and International Advocacy at PRI.”
People in prison have a disproportionately high rate of poor mental health, and research shows these rates are even higher for women in prison. While primary care remains the responsibility of healthcare professionals, frontline prison staff play an important role in protecting and addressing mental health needs of women in prison.
This guide is written to help understand how life in prison can affect a person’s mental health, with a focus on women. It describes how to recognize the signs of poor mental health and how best to respond. It also includes a checklist based on international human rights standards aimed to help with the implementation of key aspects of prison reform and advocacy initiatives in line with international standards and norms. The guide will be disseminated to prison staff and used during training sessions as well as for advocacy purposes to push for reforms in England and Wales, and beyond.