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:
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.
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.
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 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.
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.