On 7th June the society published the research findings of fellow Tamara Pattinson on the use of prison as a place of safety. On the same day the society held a seminar on her findings in the House of Lords, chaired by Lord Bradley.
Following her presentation, Professor Andrew Gray, the Chair of the Prison & Offender Research in Social Care & Health Network, gave a response and then the event was openend up for a Chatham House Rule discussion around her findings and recommendations. Whilst all agreed that diversion from prison in the first place was the clear long-term answer, and reducing the remand population, dealing with what is hapenning now on the ground was far more challenging. Tamara herself identified three particular problem areas - with advocacy - that these women often lack representation; with screening and early identification of mental health issues and the difficulties of finding more appropriate placements for these women, once they are in prison.
All present felt it was a timely reminder of a very stark problem - that prison was being used inappropriately as a place of safety for women with complex mental health needs, often with tragic consequences.