The Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody (IAP) has published its working paper on the interim findings and recommendations from just over 100 experts, following an information gathering exercise at the beginning of the year.

BACP responded alongside IAP stakeholders, members of the Ministerial Council on Deaths in Custody and the Advisory Board on Female Offenders.

BACP is delighted that several of its recommendations have been highlighted, including providing mandatory mental health awareness for staff and counselling services to all women prisoners.

Nancy Rowland, Deputy Chief Executive of BACP, said:

“We know that prisoners are five times more likely to have a mental health problem than women in the general population, and we are pleased that the IAP report recommends that each women’s prison should employ a counsellor and establish a national lead for counselling services.”

BACP hopes that the information released today will lead to significant practice change in policing, prisons, health and housing services, leading to real policy change for this vulnerable group.

Other notable recommendations include focusing the whole prison environment on promoting the mental and physical health of all prisoners, providing a greater range of mental health and substance misuse treatments – including the provision of counselling services and talking therapies – in the community, and establishing mental health assessments for all within the first 24 hours of arrival in custody.