Supporting prisoners in Oxfordshire
Prisoners in two Oxfordshire prisons who are experiencing difficulties relating to their mental health can now talk to an advocate at regular fortnightly Mental Health Clinics. Poor mental health can act as a barrier that prevents prisoners from addressing issues or concerns they have with regard to their general health and well-being. Advocacy support can help prisoners resolve the problems they are experiencing in situations where it may be difficult to say what they want and consequently get the services they need.
It is estimated that 72% of male and 70% of female sentenced prisoners suffer from two or more mental health disorders. According to Michael Spurr, NOMS Chief Operating Officer, at any one time 10% of the prison population has ‘serious mental health problems’.
By talking to an advocate who is independent of the prison, prisoners are able to understand the choices they have available and make an informed decision about how to improve their situation and get the help they need. Advocates can ask questions, find information and inform the prisoner of their rights. They can also speak or act on their behalf.
Providing mental health advocacy in prisons is part of seAp contract with the local authority to deliver community mental health advocacy throughout Oxfordshire. The Mental Health Clinics are held on alternate Thursdays, between 2pm and 4pm in HMP Bullingdon and HMP Huntercombe.
And to leave the final word with one of our prison client’s who believes he would not have got as far as he has in persuading the prison authorities to take into account his post-traumatic stress disorder and make adjustments for him without the support of his advocates. He says they have been magnificent and have really helped him.
Read more about our community mental health services here.
To find out more about our advocacy services in Oxfordshire contact our Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire office.