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Prison Health in Wales


Overview of prisons in Wales
Partnership Agreement 
Senedd Cymru Inquiry

Those in prison often have much higher levels of morbidity and suffer greater health inequalities than the general population.  Public Health Wales works to protect the health of those in touch with the criminal justice system, and in doing so protect the health of the wider community, contributing to reducing inequalities and reducing reoffending.  

Functions of the Health & Justice Health Protection Program include:

  • To support early diagnosis of infection, swift access to treatment and immediate actions to prevent spread within the prison environment
  • To monitor infection trends and uptake of health protection services across our prisons
  • To support the prison as a healthy environment with good infection control processes
  • To support men in prison to protect their own health through delivery of information and access to screening and vaccination programmes
  • To contribute to the national and international prison health protection agenda through research, publications and international networks.

The programme strives to be evidence based and is dependent on collaborative working with stakeholders such as Welsh Government, Ministry of Justice, HMPPS in Wales, NHS Health Boards and third sector organisations.  All organisations meet regularly and work in partnership to support prison health services and work towards prisons being health promoting environments.

Overview of prisons in Wales

There are six male prisons in Wales, collectively holding around 5,000 residents at any one time:

The overall responsibility for the development of prison healthcare in public sector prisons in Wales is devolved to the Welsh Government.  Since April 2006, health services in public sector prisons have been provided by NHS Wales, delivered vial Health Boards local to the prison.  HMP & YOI Parc is a private prison and primary healthcare at this site is commissioned by HMPPS in Wales.

Partnership Agreement for Prison Health in Wales


Public Health Wales is committed to supporting The Partnership Agreement for Prison Health in Wales.  This is a collaborative agreement between Welsh Government, HMPPS, Health Boards and Public Health Wales.  It sets out agreed priorities for improving prison health – which are:  

  • The wider prison environment and its contribution to improving health and wellbeing outcomes (Led by HMPPS. Engagement work postponed).
  • Mental health and the development of agreed standards for mental health services in prisons (Led by Welsh Government in collaboration with the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Standards for mental health services currently being drafted).
  • Substance misuse and the development of a new Substance Misuse Treatment Framework for prisons (Led by Welsh Government in collaboration with Public Health Wales. SMTF currently being developed, but engagement work postponed until Autumn 2020).
  • Medicines Management (Led by Welsh Government. The work will include a focus on the extent to which (RPS developed) standards for medicines management are currently being met in prisons in Wales).

The priorities are built around the agreement that this is a whole prison approach to improving the health and wellbeing outcomes of prisoners in Wales. 

Certain aspects of the work associated with the Partnership Agreement for Prison Health are now on hold in light of COVID-19, particularly in terms of engagement plans and work with stakeholders. Key milestones associated with the workstreams have been revised accordingly.

You can read the Partnership Agreement in full here.

Senedd Cymru Inquiry into Prison Health 

The Welsh Assembly Health, Social Care and Sport Committee have recently completed an inquiry into ‘Provision of health and social care in the adult prison estate in Wales’.

The evidence submitted by Public Health Wales can be download here.