Policy Workshop: Agenda

9.30 Registration, Tea & Coffee

10.00 Welcome and objectives

Convenors: Hilary Marland and Catherine Cox

10.15-11.45 Session 1: The Prison and Mental Health

Moderator: Anita Dockley, The Howard League for Penal Reform

Historical Perspectives

Dr Catherine Cox, University College Dublin and Professor Hilary Marland, University of Warwick
‘Mentally Disordered Prisoners: Drawing on History’
Dr Nicholas Duvall, University College Dublin
‘Crisis and Controversy: Prison Mental Healthcare in the Late Twentieth Century’

Contemporary Issues

Dr Kimmett Edgar, Prison Reform Trust
‘Segregation and Mental Health’
Dr Annie Bartlett, St George’s London University
‘Organisational Cultures: Two Tales of Prison Mental Health’
Dr Éamonn O’Moore, Health & Justice, Public Health England & UK Collaborating Centre for WHO Health in Prisons
‘Health & Justice: Partnerships, Pathways and Progress’

Primary Questions for Discussion

  • What is the purpose of the prison in terms of reformation, deterrence or public safety when so many prisoners are diagnosed with mental health problems or develop them during their sentences?
  • How are prisons equipped to deal with high levels of mental illness amongst prisoners?
  • ‘It is no mystery that violence, self-harm and suicide rise when you overcrowd prisons, reduce staff by almost one third, cut time out of cell and purposeful activity’. In these situations, what measures can be taken to reverse these trends?
  • What are the challenges for prison staff dealing with complex mental health issues?
  • Given the strain on NHS and HSE mental health services, is it feasible to treat mentally ill offenders outside of prison?
  • What has changed since 2006 and the Bradley Report of 2009, which marked an increased commitment to diversion from prison?

11.45-12.00 Break

12.00-1.15 Session 2: Juvenile Mental Health in Prison

Moderator: Deirdre Malone, Irish Penal Reform Trust

Historical Perspectives

Dr Fiachra Byrne, University College Dublin
‘Between Discipline and Medical Concern: Suicide Risk and The Young Offender, 1945-1973’

Contemporary Issues

Professor Harry Kennedy, Trinity College Dublin
‘Young Offenders in a Young State: Forensic Psychiatry and Developments in Youth Justice in Ireland’

Primary Questions for Discussion

  • Why do so many vulnerable young people slip through the net of mental health and welfare services and end up behind bars?
  • What approaches have been adopted to try to protect young offenders from harm within the prison system and how do these differ from practices regarding adult offenders?
  • Are places of detention the best environment for ensuring the health of youth offenders with a history of deliberate self-harming and suicidal behaviour? Should there be wider use of specialist psychiatric units for this class of youth offender?
  • Is it politically possible to change the focus from youth crime to youth mental health?
  • Is there a danger in interpreting the needs of this population purely in terms of individual psychiatric or psychological morbidity? Might other social or political factors be overlooked?

1.15-2.15 Lunch

2.15-3.00 General Discussion and Future Planning

3.00 Departures