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Young Offenders

Volume 479: debated on Thursday 17 July 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance his Department has issued to secure establishments on screening of young offenders for (a) mental illness, (b) learning difficulties and (c) physical disabilities. (218805)

All young offenders receive health screening on reception into prison. This is via an evidence based initial health screen used throughout all prisons in England and originally developed by Professor Grubin of the University of Newcastle. Young offenders are also screened for their educational needs. A new reception screen for young people has been developed by the Youth Justice Board and is being piloted. It contains a section looking at disability and impairment and covers physical and mental health problems.

A general learning needs assessment is used to identify all learning difficulties and disabilities. Where problems are identified, either as a result of the health screen or the education screen, a referral to an appropriate professional would be expected to be made.

Transfer of the responsibility for commissioning health services in Young Offender Institutions, and adult prisons in England, commenced in 2003 and was fully devolved to the NHS by April 2006. Primary Care Trusts work with their partner establishments to develop a comprehensive health needs assessment of the population and commission on the basis of that need.