Clinks response: The Howard League’s APPG on Women in the Penal System’s Inquiry into women’s health and wellbeing in prisons
Clinks submitted evidence to the Howard League’s APPG on Women in the Penal System’s Inquiry into women’s health and wellbeing in prisons. The response is informed by ongoing research, engagement with our members particularly through our women’s network, and consultation with member that have a specific expertise in this area. The response details evidence regarding the acute health inequalities of women in prison compared to their male counterparts and the general population. It details statistics regarding the prevalence of substance misuse and mental ill health and reasoning for these health needs. The response also provides further information regarding the access to healthcare in prison, and that hospital data reveals potential lapses of care within prisons, relating to issues such as giving birth and diabetes. The impact of Covid-19 on women’s health and wellbeing in prison was also detailed, alongside the health needs regarding pregnancy and maternity.
Clinks recommends that the voluntary sector must be recognised as key strategic partner in the design and delivery of services, for the vital role they play in supporting women’s health and wellbeing in women’s prisons. Clinks also recommends that a ‘whole prison’ approach should be taken towards mental health and wellbeing, responding to the individual needs of the whole prison population. The voluntary sector has a strong track record of delivering holistic and trauma-informed services to support women’s mental health in prison, and these services should be commissioned and sustainably funded. The commitments made in the National Partnership Agreement for Prison Healthcare in England 2018-2021 to improve the health and wellbeing of people in prison and reduce health inequalities, and to support access to and continuity of care through the prison estate, should be made again in the next iteration of the agreement and fully delivered on. The voluntary sector should be consulted in the design and delivery of the agreement and adjoining plan.