Offender Health

Why is it an issue?

Offenders and ex-offenders are more likely to have acute health needs, including in mental health and/or substance misuse problems and social care needs.  Partnership work to address these needs is important to reduce both reoffending and health inequalities.

What is the position in Devon?

The average population of the three prisons in Devon is around 2,000.  A survey of health visitor caseloads in 2011/12 revealed parental offending to be the most commonly associated with of complex risk factors in families.

What is the evidence of effective interventions?

The Devon Prisoner Health Needs Assessment provided a robust evaluation of the needs of offenders in prison in Devon including lifestyle factors. 70% of Devon prisoners smoke compared to 18.1% in the general population and interventions are in place to support smokers to quit and provide a range of lifestyle support services; including health checks for offenders aged 40-74. The needs assessment recognises the impact of an ageing prison population and there is a need for a better understanding of social care needs following resettlement in the community. A health needs assessment is being undertaken for people in police custody and further work on offenders and ex-offenders in the community.