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Brain Injuries: Prisoners

Volume 504: debated on Monday 18 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether he has discussed in the Council of Ministers the policy of other EU member states on prisoners with acquired brain injuries; and if he will make a statement; (311490)

(2) what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the proportion of the prison population with an acquired brain injury; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of prisoners with an acquired brain injury; and if he will make a statement;

(4) what his policy is on the assessment of prisoners commencing a prison sentence for evidence of an acquired brain injury; and if he will make a statement.

There have been no discussions in the Council of Ministers regarding the policy of other European Union member states relating to prisoners who have acquired brain injuries.

Since 2006, national health service primary care trusts have been responsible for commissioning health services for their offender health population. No research has been commissioned and evaluated on the proportion of the prison population who have acquired brain injury and no information is collected centrally on the number and proportion of prisoners who have acquired brain injury.

For prisoners commencing a prison sentence, Prison Service Order 0500 and subsequent Prison Service Instruction 27/2006 states that:

First receptions into custody will have undergone an initial health assessment to determine any immediate health needs before they commence their first night in custody.

The initial evidence based health assessment of first receptions will include a triage that must take place before the prisoner's first night, to primarily detect:

(a) Immediate physical health problems

(b) Immediate mental health problems

(c) Significant drugs or alcohol abuse

(d) Risk of suicide and/or self-harm.

As a follow up to this, they must also be given a general health assessment in the week immediately following reception, by an appropriately trained member of the health care team, in order to plan any subsequent care/treatment.