Criminal justice

People in contact with the criminal justice system often have multiple complex needs which are often linked to offending behaviours that can lead to greater inequalities. These needs can be further complicated by social issues such as unemployment, indebtedness, homelessness, social isolation, lack of training or education, and psychological trauma.

People in contact with the criminal justice system face significant health inequalities and are part of Inclusion Health:

  • mortality rate for prisoners is 50% higher than the rest of the population
  • people in and out of the criminal justice system are four times more likely to be smokers
  • 15% of prisoners had been homeless immediately prior to custody, compared to a lifetime experience of homelessness of 3.5% in the wider population
  • 42% of men and women in prison and 17.3% on probation suffered from depression, compared to just over 10% of the rest of the population

The low levels of help-seeking behaviour we see in this group are exacerbated by a range of other obstacles to effective engagement with services, sometimes including inaccessible and poor knowledge for how to engage this group.