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Tagged In:  Mental health, Prisons

A project to evaluate the way support is delivered to prisoners with mental health needs has been given a further tranche of funding to continue its work.




The Engager 2 project aims to develop and evaluate ways of organising care and support for newly-released prisoners or those nearing the end of their sentence.

Joined-up support for prisoners


Looking at a more joined-up approach to the needs of such prisoners, the concept is based on an integrated format involving therapy, medication, housing, training and employment with the goal of ensuring that care continues after the individual has been released from custody.

Engager 2 sees Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PUPSMD), the University of Manchester, University College London and the University of Exeter working together and has already received £2.2 million from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR).

Now, an additional £290,000 of funding from the same body will see the project continue for another 10 months.

Two-part study


The first phase of the research focussed on eight men who had served prison sentences who reflected on their experiences to the study team and outlined some of the challenges and difficulties they faced one released. Working alongside academics, a proposed system of care was developed with agreed measures to evaluate it.

Part two of the work is continuing with a randomised control trial in which half the 280 prisoners receive the new integrated approach while the others receive the care that is usually available.

For 140 prisoners, this will mean more support from a range of professionals, including prison nurses, offender healthcare professionals and substance misuse workers

The additional funding will also enable the team to follow-up the prisoners involved in the study for an additional period of time, allowing them to investigate the longer term impact of the initiative. A more comprehensive economic analysis will also be carried out.

Mental health support network


The Engager 2 team hope that by collecting information on people’s health and the healthcare they receive, improvements in their social situation and any further involvement with the criminal justice system, they can evaluate the effectiveness of the new integrated approach by comparing it with the results from the current levels of care offered.
Project Lead for Engager 2 Dr Tim Kirkpatrick, a Research Fellow at PUPSMD, said he believed the work would result in a safer and more comprehensive support network for prisoners on release, which may result in reduced rates of re-offending and improved quality of life and opportunity.

“Not only would this be of benefit to the released offender, but also to the community as a whole and to hard-pressed health and social care budgets,” he added.

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Susan Peerless, 14 August 2017, 02:51 PM
I was head of prison healthcare in the Northwest for 7 years and have since done interim (self employed) work in prison. i am available for further work. I had a home visit from Sancturary staff a few months ago however, i have had no further communication
Sanctuary Criminal Justice, 14 August 2017, 02:56 PM
Hi Susan,

Thank you for getting in touch. Can you please give us a call 0333 7000 024 so you can speak to one of our consultants.

Kind Regards,
Sanctuary Criminal Justice
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