The Guardian: Inmate suicide figures expose human toll of prison crisis

This important story details the human cost of the failure to provide proper care in the prison system for those with mental health issues and is a must-read in its own right.

However, as a campaign, we have been hearing from Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) staff about ill people being locked in police cells rather than cared for and worse, about people in crisis who are entering the criminal justice system as a result of the mental health system’s failure to look after them properly. The huge cuts in community mental health services, resulting in hundreds of unallocated cases in the community teams and the abolition of the Assertive Outreach teams, has resulted in criminal behaviour which could have been prevented, with needless victims and incarceration. This suicide crisis in Britain’s prisons isn’t simply about the funding of mental health care in the criminal justice system – it is also about the vicious cuts to mental health funding in the NHS.

With a history of acute mental health problems, the 21-year-old was jailed “for his own safety” after attempts to find him a secure mental health bed failed. He had no criminal record, and was charged with possession of an offensive weapon after he tried to cut his own throat.”

On the afternoon of 29 September last year, Lynda was out buying bedroom furniture for her son’s return when he phoned her. “He just seemed really down,” she said. “I told him I was coming to see him on Monday, I asked him if he needed any money. He kept saying: ‘No, I’ll be all right, I am coming home’. Then he said: ‘Bye, bye, I love you’, and that was it.”

An hour later, his mother received another call telling her to go to Leicester hospital where Steven was being admitted to intensive care. She did not make it in time. “A nurse rang as I was on my way and said: ‘I’m so sorry, we have just lost him.’”

Shame on you, Norman Lamb. Your duplicitous claim to be a champion of the mentally ill is nauseating hypocrisy.

Click on the image below to read the full story at the Guardian website.

Prison Suicide

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