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Offender health

Publications and guidance

The Care and Support Jargon Buster is a plain English guide to the most commonly used social care words and phrases and what they mean. 

Offender health

This page gives a general overview of how offender healthcare is organised and includes links to various guidance documents.

'Balancing Act: Addressing health inequalities among people in contact with the CJS' is targeted at Directors of Public Health in local authorities, and gives a useful overview of who is responsible for what and statistics for health inequalities in the Criminal Justice System.

'Public Health Functions Service specification 29: Services for people in prison or other places of detention' gives details of public health programmes to be delivered in prisons but also includes an introduction section on population needs with various statistics.

'Health & wellbeing boards and criminal justice system agencies: Ensuring effective engagement' is a guidance document for Health and Wellbeing Boards and the Criminal Justice System on working together. Includes information about who is responsible for what and some statistics on health inequalities among offenders.


'Influencing Local Commissioning for Health and Care' is a user friendly guide from Regional Voices on how the voluntary sector can influence local health commissioning.

'Comparing apples with oranges? How to make better use of evidence from the voluntary and community sector to improve health outcomes' is a NHS Confederation briefing that shows how using evidence from the voluntary sector enhances Joint Strategic Needs Assessments and helps commissioning decisions that better meet the needs of local populations.

Mental health

The Bradley Report is an influential review by Lord Bradley (2009) into people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the Criminal Justice System 

The Bradley Report five years on gives an update on progress and priorities for further development since the publication of the Bradley Report.

For a more general overview of mental health services and how they relate to other health and public services, see this Kings' Fund video, 'An alternative guide to mental health care in England'

Multiple and complex needs

'Complex Responses: Understanding poor frontline responses to adults with multiple needs' is a Revolving Doors Agency report on understanding poor frontline responses to adults with multiple needs.

'Keys to Diversion: Best practice for offenders with multiple needs' from the Centre for Mental Health outlines best practice for offenders with multiple needs.

Learning disability and difficulties

'Focus on: Offenders with learning disabilities' is a Butler Trust short report detailing good practice and resources for working with offenders with learning disabilities and difficulties.

The Offender Health Collaborative have produced a manager and practitioner resource on Learning Disability which outlines the main areas to be aware of for meeting the needs of people with learning disabilities in contact with the Criminal Justice System.  Although it is primarily aimed at staff working in liaison and diversion services much of the information is applicable more widely.

Health in prison

Citizens Advice Bureau have produced a useful Advice Guide on health in prison for prisoners and family members.

RECOOP have produced a series of easy-read leaflets explaining the Care Act and what it means for people in prison with social care needs. You need to register on their website (free) to access them.

Local health statistics and strategic plans

The Public Health England 'Health Profiles' has summary health indicators and information for each local authority area in England.

The Public Health England Local Health website  has more detailed local health indicators and analysis tools.

The Local Government Association Health & Wellbeing Board priorities  page has a map to identify and compare local Health and Wellbeing Board priorities, with links to the individual health and wellbeing strategy for each area.