What support is available to prisoners?
From April 2015, care and support in England is changing for the better. The new Care Act will help make care and support more consistent across the country. ‘Care and support’ is the term we use to describe the help some adults need to live as well as possible with any illness or disability they may have. It can include help with things like washing, dressing and eating. If you receive care and support, or you support someone as a carer, you could benefit from the changes.
Why does the Care Act mention prisoners?
For prisoners and others who live in approved premises such as bail hostels, social care services can support rehabilitation. This can make a big difference to a person’s health, their wellbeing and the likelihood of re-offending, making it much easier for them to rebuild their life after release. The new Care Act says that if a person meets particular criteria, the prison’s or approved premises’ local council must provide their care and support.
What does the Care Act say about care and support for prisoners?
Just like anyone else, prisoners and people in approved premises who can afford to must pay part or the full cost of their care. If a prisoner receiving care and support moves to another prison, the Care Act will make sure that their care and support continues. The council may also assess the new or continuing help a person will need when they are released into the community.
Is support for prisoners or people in approved premises different from the help given to those in the community?
- Most prisoners have less choice about their care arrangements than those outside prison. Also, they cannot receive direct payments for their care and support (although this does not apply to those without convictions, such as certain people on bail).
- Prisoners may not choose their accommodation except when it is being arranged for after their release.
- If a prisoner acts as a carer for another prisoner, the Act makes the local council responsible for assessing the carer’s own support needs unless their caring work is part of their voluntary or paid job.
- Councils do not have to protect the property of adults with care and support needs in prison or approved premises.
- Prisons and approved premises are still responsible for detainees’ safety. This means that the local council’s Safeguarding Adults Boards are not responsible for enquiries or reviews into abuse or neglect of a prisoner with care and support needs. However, Safeguarding Adults Boards can advise and help and assist prison officials when needed. They may also invite prison staff to be Board members.
- Prisoners and those people who live in approved premises such as bail hostels may also be asked to contribute towards the cost of their care if they can afford to do so just like other people with care support needs.
If you would like to find out more about the changes to care and support and how you might benefit visit www.doncaster.gov.uk/careact.