“I welcome this report from the Health and Social Care Committee.
It is not right that prisoners suffer far worse health, especially mental health, than the general population.
Reducing self-harm, which has reached a record high, and preventing self-inflicted deaths, must remain a Government priority.
Many of the problems the Health and Social Care Committee has identified are also highlighted in the evidence we have received for our own prisons inquiry, particularly on access to mental health services and the question of whether prison is the right environment for people with acute mental health needs. The report also echoes our long-standing concerns about the impact of staffing levels on the safety of prisons and their capacity to rehabilitate.
Healthy prison environments are integral to rehabilitation. Too often that is not the case.
We have seen this repeatedly on recent prison visits, as well as examples where health professionals and prison governors work together to good effect.
Our own Prison Population 2022 inquiry is looking at what factors influence the prison population, some of which are outside the justice system.
In the coming weeks, one focus will be on substance misuse and mental health treatment in prisons and in the community.”