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Recommendations to support mental health in the justice system

Community groups are the key to engaging black and ethnic minority (BME) groups who are disproportionately over-represented in the criminal justice system.

The BME population is also significantly more likely to suffer from mental health issues. A new Centre for Mental Health commission chaired by Lord Bradley is conducting a five year review of the Bradley report, his earlier research which offered recommendations on how to support people with mental health problems in the criminal justice system.

The commission is reviewing the progress made in achieving these recommendations, and has highlighted that community groups offer effective mental health support in the justice system.

Lord Bradley said the needs of BME communities were “often overlooked”.

He added: “Taking cases of good practice into consideration the Commission have identified 10 key recommendations that reflect our findings and can act as a checklist for liaison and diversion services working with BME communities in the criminal justice system.”

Andy Bell, deputy chief executive of Centre for Mental Health said: “Community links are incredibly important when it comes to good mental health care provision. By building links with communities and working alongside organisations, diversion services can begin to tackle inequalities in access to services and support. The Commission has identified a number of cases of good practice, from which we can learn a lot.

“The over-representation of BME communities in our criminal justice system and mental health services is a much neglected area and something that needs concerted action from the ground up.

“The recommendations made by this report from the Bradley Commission outline some important areas in which mental health services can work alongside community organisations to help to improve the lives of those in our communities who need an appropriate, person-centred and active approach, which understands the specific challenges faced by individuals as well as their needs, cultures and backgrounds.”

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