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Challenges and mental health needs of women in prison

  • Annie Bartlett (a1) and Sheila Hollins (a2)
Summary

The world population of women and girls in prison is increasing. Evidence points to high rates of mental health problems. Approaches to these problems vary and include both psychiatric epidemiology and gender-sensitive understanding and intervention. Prison environments and women prisoners' needs are complex and demand gender-aware care in view of women's vulnerability and histories of trauma.

Declaration of interest

A.B. was a clinical director of the offender care services at Central and North West London National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust until August 2016, with responsibility for several women’s prison healthcare services in London and the South East, and is currently clinical director of NHS England London Health in Justice Clinical Network, paid as a salary one day a week.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Annie Bartlett, Professor of Offender Healthcare, St George's University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE. Email: abartlet@sgul.ac.uk
References
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1 Walmsley, R. World Female Imprisonment List (3rd edn). World Prison Brief, 2015 (http://www.prisonstudies.org/sites/default/files/resources/downloads/world_female_imprisonment_list_third_edition_0.pdf).
2 World Health Organisation. Women's Health in Prison: Correcting Gender Inequity in Prison Health. WHO, 2009 (http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/76513/E92347.pdf).
3 Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody. Preventing the Deaths of Women in Prison – Initial Results of a Rapid Information Gathering Exercise by the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody. IAPDIC, 2017 (http://iapdeathsincustody.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/IAP-rapid-evidence-collection-v0.2.pdf).
4 Bloom, B, Owen, B, Covington, S. A Summary of Research, Practice, and Guiding Principles for Women Offenders. The Gender-Responsive Strategies Project: Approach and Findings. National Institute of Corrections, 2005.
5 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. United Nations’ Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders with their Commentary. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2011.
6 Green, BL, Dass-Brailsford, P, Hurtado de Mendoza, A, Mete, M, Lynch, SM, DeHart, DD, et al. Trauma experiences and mental health among incarcerated women. Psychol Trauma Theory Res Pract Policy 2016; 8: 455–63.
7 Bartlett, A, Jhanji, E, White, S, Harty, MA, Scammell, J, Allen, S. Interventions with women offenders: a systematic review and meta-analysis of mental health gain. Am J Forensic Psychiatry Psychol 2015; 26: 133–65.
8 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Handbook on Women and Imprisonment. UNODC, 2008. (https://www.unodc.org/documents/justice-and-prison-reform/women_and_imprisonment_-_2nd_edition.pdf).
9 Hollins, S, Giraud-Saunders, A, Ryan, M, Webb, B, Ralls, T. You're in Prison. Books Beyond Words, 2013.
10 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Afghanistan Female Prisoners and their Social Reintegration. UNODC, 2007 (https://www.unodc.org/pdf/criminal_justice/Afghanistan_Female_Prisoners_and_their_Social_Reintegration.pdf).
11 Ministry of Justice. Prisoners’ Childhood and Family Backgrounds. Ministry of Justice Research Series 4/12. Ministry of Justice, 2012.
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Challenges and mental health needs of women in prison

  • Annie Bartlett (a1) and Sheila Hollins (a2)
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