Opinion Former Article

Rethink: Charity responds to government on Criminal Justice Review

Today, Tuesday 17th November 2009, the government released its response to the Bradley Review an independent and far reaching review of the Criminal Justice System (CJS).

Paul Jenkins, Chief Executive of mental health charity Rethink said: "It's great that the government is recognising the modern scandal that thousands of people with mental illness are being sent to prison inappropriately. But aspirations to change the system aren't enough. We need this and future governments to make sure the positive words in this report actually happen.

"We welcome the commitment to deliver mental health awareness training for all front line staff but must stress that this needs to be a higher priority. Enabling staff in all the criminal justice agencies to recognise and act on the mental health needs of offenders and getting treatment to those who need it early is the cornerstone of effective diversion. In that way we can improve lives, reduce reoffending and stop wasting public money on expensive and unnecessary prison places.

"We are also pleased to see the focus on Personality Disorder as a training need that goes beyond Criminal Justice staff to include the NHS and Social Care Agencies.

"To achieve the transformation in practice which is required will need structured, joined-up working between the criminal justice agencies, the NHS and local authorities and for government and all the agencies involved to give these plans the priority and resources they deserve."

Vicky Trimikliniotis
PR Officer
Rethink
020 7840 3146

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