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Mental health practitioners to assess offenders in bid to reduce recidivism

Offenders in Wales with low-level mental health issues will be required to attend an assessment as part of a government scheme to tackle reoffending.

01/05/24

Mental health practitioners to assess offenders in bid to reduce recidivism

Offenders will be assessed by a mental health practitioner after sentencing in a bid to stop reoffending.

Practitioners will carry out an assessment to inform sentencing and start targeted treatment, or therapy, within weeks. At the moment this typically takes much longer – increasing the chances of reoffending.

It is thought around 700 offenders in Wales will be told to attend mental health treatment when they are handed a community sentence in court.

The Welsh Government awarded £1.1 million to G4S with Forensic Psychology Consultancy to run the initiative.

“We know mental health issues can often be an underlying cause of crime so targeted treatment and support is vital if we want to protect the public, reduce reoffending and help offenders move on with their lives,” Regional Probation Director for Wales, Nic Davies, said.

“This investment is a significant boost for mental health support in Wales and will make it easier for the Probation Service to supervise offenders through their sentence and become a law-abiding member of society.”

The new service follows a successful pilot in Swansea which has been running since August 2021. The pilot found that 80% of offenders who took part in this type of community order experienced a significant benefit to their mental health.

“Our communities are home to many people who have treatment needs but who struggle to access the support that would help them to manage their condition or situation and overcome the challenges they face,” G4S Community Director, Ben Lloyd, said.

“While too many of these people find themselves involved in the justice system, a court hearing provides an opportunity for sentencers to consider what has happened, what support may be required to help people to stabilise, achieve some change and to return to an active and contributory role in their families and neighbourhoods.”

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