• Sentencing reform and prisoner mental health

      Taylor, Paul J.; Williams, Sian; University of Chester; Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust (HM Prison Service of England and Wales / Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, 2014-01)
      Mental illness and distress in prison has been well documented. Indeed research and reports have argued that the number of mental disorders among prisoners is much higher than in the general population. Furthermore, specific evidence linking the prevalence of mental ill health to specific sentences of imprisonment, such as indeterminate sentences for public protection (IPP), open the debate on how best to manage this area of contemporary punishments. The deleterious effects of prison life on mental well-being are, and continue to be, a pressing matter for prison authorities and the staff engaged in the support and treatment of remand and sentenced prisoners. Mental illness in prison is nothing new; rather the existence of what was once termed as ‘lunacy’ and psychiatric symptoms among those detained can be traced to the rise of the early modern prison and the confinement era of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In Britain and elsewhere, as the nineteenth century progressed, society witnessed a ‘separating out’ of criminals, psychiatric patients and those deemed as ‘criminal lunatics’, with purpose built institutions pervading urban and rural areas of the country. However, these developments in confinement did not necessarily mean that mental illness or distress was eradicated from the prison setting, on the contrary; rather this situation is something that continues to be topical in the contemporary era of offender management.