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IMB report highlights lack of progress on transfer of prisoners needing mental health care

A prisoner needing specialist psychiatric care waited 55 days in HMP/YOI Moorland for transfer to hospital, despite a ministerial response to last year’s Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) report stating that a draft Mental Health Bill would introduce a statutory limit of 28 days. This year’s IMB reportasks whether the Minister can predict when this limit will be passed into law.  

The Board also reports that:

  • IPP prisoners (those detained for an indeterminate period for public protection) are unable to access programmes recommended by the Parole Board due to staffing shortages, which has a direct impact on their chance of release.
  • The number of prisoners allowed to be held in Moorland has increased by 94 this year, but this increase has not been matched by additional staffing or resource, impeding the provision of one-to-one key work sessions with prisoners.
  • Prisoners lack confidence in the management of complaints concerning allegations of discrimination. The number of written representations received by the Board regarding negative prisoner/staff relationships increased during the reporting year.

However, the IMB was pleased to note that:

  • There has been an improvement in resettlement planning, with better co-ordination of activities to support this within the prison. Relationships built with potential employers are also having a positive impact on resettlement opportunities.
  • De-escalation measures have been successful, leading to a marked reduction in the recorded use of force.

IMB Moorland Chair, Dr Jenny Bywaters, said:

“Moorland prison is moving in the right direction, and we are confident that the Governor shares our concerns about what needs to improve. Additional resources are needed to address some issues caused by the rising prison population, and government action is needed on wider problems, such as the interface with NHS psychiatric provision.”