The Department acknowledges that prisoners leaving prison with a diagnosed medical condition such as tuberculosis require ongoing care from primary and specialist care services in the community.
This is a challenge given the often complex social and personal circumstances of prison-leavers. Issues around homelessness are a particular concern as it can lead to loss of contact with locality based care services. Recognising the need for cross-organisation working, the Department has committed itself to improving care pathways for offenders in prison and in the community in the cross government Health and Criminal Justice Delivery Plan “Improving Health, Supporting Justice” (November 2009, Department of Health). A copy has already been placed in the Library.
In the interim, through-care and after-care programmes in prisons endeavour to ensure that ongoing care requirements are met and planning for discharge occurs so that prison-leavers are referred to services in their home community. Our partners recognise this challenge too and are actively engaged in working through the issues with us.