Green Party NI MLA, Rachel Woods, a member of Stormont's Justice Committee, has commented after the RQIA published a report which highlighted major issues regarding the use of Care and Support Units (CSUs) in prisons, and reiterates the need for a focused review in this area.
The North Down MLA said, “Whilst the report found that there have been great efforts made with commendable progress in some areas, I am deeply concerned by some of the other findings of the review, especially over the use of Care and Supervision Units (CSUs) for those with severe mental health problems and illness. Of particular concern, was the lack of awareness amongst commissioners regarding the extent of the problem, indicating that the issue of CSU placement for mentally unwell patients is not receiving the focus it warrants.”
Rachel Woods MLA said: “The lack of acute mental health provision is extremely concerning and the underfunding of healthcare underpins these problems. A shortage of beds and lack of suitable alternatives means that mentally unwell prisoners are being kept in CSUs for long periods of time, which raises serious questions regarding their human rights.
“As the report recommendations outline, prisoners in need of acute mental healthcare should be treated in hospital. It is up to Executive, led by the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Health, to ensure that these recommendations are implemented urgently and that these issues are addressed.”
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