A group which champion’s the rights of patients has set up what are believed to be the first Eastern region health and wellbeing forum in a prison.

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The meetings at HMP Norwich bring together prisoner representatives, prison staff and health care providers to discuss how to alleviate incidents of stress and anxiety which can detrimentally affect the mental health and rehabilitation of prisoners.

The forums were set up by Norfolk Local Involvement Network (LINk), which carried out a study in 2011, where volunteers spoke to prisoners at four prisons in Norfolk and Suffolk to see how access to mental health care services could be improved. It is estimated that up to 90pc of the UK’s prison population suffer from a mental health condition.

Norfolk LINk’s findings were published in two reports, which were backed by television personality Stephen Fry who has spoken publicly about his battle with bipolar disorder. One recommendation was to form a pilot health and wellbeing forum at HMP Norwich, with the hope it could be replicated in other prisons across the region, and also nationwide.

Norfolk LINk will initially facilitate the meetings, which happen every six weeks, with the aim of handing over the future running of the project to prisons.

Volunteer Mark Ganderton, of the Norfolk LINk prisons project group, said: “The reaction we got from prisoners during our study was that this is a service which is much needed. Before the forum, there wasn’t an independent platform to air their views on health and wellbeing issues.”

To read Norfolk LINk’s findings from its 2011 study, visit www.norfolklink.org.uk.

2 comments

  • They seem to worry more about the health and living conditions of those that have committed crimes and are locked up as a punishment, than they do the normal law abiding citizens. From what I can see in many cases, crime does pay.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Monday, October 29, 2012

  • There has to be a balance between just punishing people without getting to the root causes of the offending behaviour.Unless we want to spend £40,000 a week on each prisoner-more than it costs to send someone to Eton-the aim surely has to be to prevent recidivism and repeating the offending behaviour on release that put them there in the first place.If they get it right it's good news for the taxpayer too.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Monday, October 29, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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