NI: Joint consultation to examine health needs in criminal justice system

Justice Minister David Ford
Justice Minister David Ford

Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister David Ford and Health Minister Simon Hamilton are jointly consulting on the health and social care needs of people who come in contact with the criminal justice system.

The ministers are seeking views on the Improving Health within Criminal Justice Draft Strategy and Action Plan, which aims to ensure children, young people and adults in the criminal justice system are healthier, safer and less likely to be involved in offending behaviour.

Mr Ford said: “Each year significant numbers of children, young people and adults are in contact with the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland as suspects, defendants and serving sentences in the community or in custody. Some of these individuals will be in good health or, if not, accessing the services they need in the community. But many are likely to have unmet health needs, especially in areas like mental ill health and substance misuse.

“Improving Health within Criminal Justice seeks to ensure that resources are better aligned to need, access to services is enhanced and continuity of care developed.

“By taking these steps to improve the health and well-being of the criminal justice population, I believe we can also contribute to safer detention and a reduced risk of reoffending.”

Mr Hamilton added: “The draft Action Plan outlines a substantial work programme that will develop our workforces and the way we collaborate and allow us to improve our healthcare services and health protection and health promotion.

“I look forward to hearing views on these important issues and the public’s input will help shape the future direction of the draft strategy and action plan.”

The consultation will run until 20 June 2016. More information is available from the Department of Justice website.

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