A report about the health needs of people in prison (Easy Read)


A Report on the Health Needs of People in Prison – Easy Read

The Scottish Government has asked 4 organizations to provide information on the health needs of people in prison.


It wanted to know more about people in prison and the support they need, with:

  • body health
  • Mental health
  • social care
  • substance use

In this document substance use means things like taking from:


The organizations wrote 4 reports.


The 4 reports were collated and combined into one main report.

This is the easy-to-read copy of the main report. A link to the full Understanding the Needs of Scotland’s Prison Population report is available here Understanding the Needs of Scotland’s Prison Population.


What we found out


1. Choice of services in all prisons


Not everyone in prison can get the support they need.

Especially people who need more than one type of support.


It is difficult for services to work together to help people in prison.


Support is often only offered in times of crisis.


These things should happen


  • the NHS and the Scottish Prison Service should have the same idea of ​​what good care looks like

  • Organizations that make decisions and provide health care and support should work well together – this is called a partnership

  • Funding for health and care services should be proportionate to the size of each prison

2. Disclosure of Information


All 4 organizations found it difficult to obtain information about the health of people in prison.

This was because there were many different types of computer programs that contained information.


Not enough information is exchanged between:

  • courts and judiciary
  • health care
  • social work
  • Organizations such as charities
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Sometimes information is well shared between:

  • health teams in prisons
  • health teams outside prisons

Information is more difficult to share when:

  • someone moves from one prison to another prison
  • someone gets out of prison
  • the prison is in a different area than where they usually live

That means people who go to jail sometimes don’t get their medication fast enough.


These things should happen


  • to create a new system that brings together all health information about every person in prison

  • Make sure different organizations supporting a person in prison follow the same clear way of working

  • Ensure health records are passed to the next location when someone moves out of a prison

3. Getting the services you need


Many people in Scotland’s prisons have more than one medical condition.

This makes it difficult to deal with health problems and difficulties.


If someone goes to jail, they will be very stressed.

They may not feel able to answer health questions at this time.

It would be better to wait a few days and take a closer look at each person’s needs.


There is not enough transportation and staff to bring people to prison specialist medical care Events.


Professional support means receiving support from employees who:

  • work with people with health conditions
  • know a lot about this health condition

One thing that has really helped people get specialist care is online video meetings.

Further video conferences took place because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

It’s easier because there’s no need to take anyone in or out of jail.


Some groups of people in prison have more health needs than others.

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There are more mental illnesses in:


There are more physical health problems in:

  • White people
  • Women
  • people over 50

There are groups that lack services and support such as:

  • People waiting for their court hearing
  • elderly people

These things should happen


  • do one review about how people in prison are taken to clinics for doctor’s appointments

A review means taking a close look at something to see what is working well and what needs to be changed.


  • Use more technology to offer more online video conferencing

  • Arrange a second screening a few days after someone has been imprisoned to further assess their health needs

4. staff

Many different staff work to support people in prison.


These are people like:

  • nurses
  • doctors
  • pharmacist
  • mental health specialists
  • office staff
  • Advisor
  • prison officials
  • Social worker
  • charity worker
  • dentists
  • optician

There must be enough staff to ensure that people in prison get the support they need.


COVID-19 This was made even more difficult by the fact that many employees had to stay at home at different times.


Some employees leave because:

  • they are asked to do too much work
  • they don’t feel valued

Things that might help are:

  • make clear how working in healthcare in prisons can be a good and long career
  • Supporting employees in their own health and well-being

There is good staff training.

But it is not always possible for employees to take part in training when there are too few employees.


Some types of healthcare do not have enough training.

This creates supply gaps in some prisons.


Anyone new to the correctional facility should complete training in the following areas:

  • which groups in prison need more medical care
  • Mental health
  • trauma
  • the various services
  • how to get those services
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trauma is when something happens in your life that is scary and affects your mental health.


These things should happen


  • Make changes to make more staff want to work in the prisons

  • Ensure that all new staff working in prisons are trained

5. Facilities

In this document facilities mean rooms, rooms and devices.


Some prisons do not have enough rooms for medical care.


Meanwhile, this was even more difficult COVID-19 when people had to stay farther apart.


Many prison buildings are old.

They are not accessible to wheelchair users or people with reduced mobility.


Now many people in prison are older and find it difficult to move around.

Installing accessible things — like hoists, ramps, and medical equipment — is expensive.


People who have lived in prison say it’s important to have these things:

  • see daylight
  • Exercise that is different from using the gym
  • a good place to stay after leaving prison

These things should happen


  • Give more money to prisons so that more space can be made for health care

  • Spend money to make prisons more accessible

  • a review to ensure prison buildings are suitable for:
    • People with disabilities
    • People who cannot move easily
    • People who are close to the end of their lives

  • Helping people in prison find a good home before they leave prison

This is the end of the Easy Read report.


Copyright images © Photosymbols. Produced for the Scottish Government by Disability Equality Scotland.



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