Health Minister Simon Hamilton and Justice Minister David Ford today jointly launched a consultation on health and social care needs of people who come in contact with the criminal justice system.
The ‘Improving Health within Criminal Justice Draft Strategy and Action Plan’ is aimed at ensuring children, young people and adults in the criminal justice system are healthier, safer and less likely to be involved in offending behaviour.
Health Minister Simon Hamilton said: "Our joint commitment, as set out in this draft Strategy, and it’s supporting Action Plan, is to work together to ensure that these children, young people and adults have the highest attainable standard of health and well-being.
“The draft Action Plan outlines a substantial work programme that will develop our workforces and the way we collaborate and allow us to improve our healthcare services and health protection and health promotion.
“I look forward to hearing views on these important issues and the public’s input will help shape the future direction of the draft strategy and action plan.”
The consultation seeks to establish strategic priorities and key issues to address in terms of the health and social care needs of those who come in contact with the criminal justice system. The Departments are also keen to hear views on what other actions should be included and whether any proposals may have a potentially adverse impact on any the nine equality groups under section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.
Justice Minister David Ford said: “Each year significant numbers of children, young people and adults are in contact with the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland as suspects, defendants and serving sentences in the community or in custody. Some of these individuals will be in good health or, if not, accessing the services they need in the community. But many are likely to have unmet health needs, especially in areas like mental ill health and substance misuse.
“Improving Health within Criminal Justice seeks to ensure that resources are better aligned to need, access to services is enhanced and continuity of care developed.
“By taking these steps to improve the health and well-being of the criminal justice population, I believe we can also contribute to safer detention and a reduced risk of reoffending.”
The public consultation period for the ‘Improving Health within Criminal Justice draft Strategy and Action Plan’ will last for 12 weeks from 24 March 2016 to 20 June 2016.
Notes to editors:
- The document and the consultation response template are available for download from the DHSSPS and DOJ websites.
- Media enquiries about this press release to DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0074, or out of office hours contact to Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt
- Alternatively please contact the DOJ Press Office on 028 9052 6444. For out of office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699715440 and your call will be returned.
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