Contribution by Rhianon Williams
AWARE “Cross-sectoral awareness building on mental health needs in the criminal justice system and on release” is an integrated response to non-discrimination and social inclusion of those who suffer from the double challenge and stigma of both a criminal record and mental health problems.
In the scope of the project, we have developed training materials for people working in the criminal justice system, communities and prisoners’ families, both to raise awareness and to offer practical support. The goal is that we are all better able to support mental health sufferers at critical points during their imprisonment and after release. Specific objectives for this project are the following:
- To narrow the gap between civil society and those suffering mental health issues in the criminal justice context by bringing together criminal justice and civil society organisations in an exchange of mutual understanding and expertise;
- To provide mental health awareness training methodology for those working in a prison, probation or civil society context, so better outcomes are verified for those within the criminal justice system, including reducing reoffending;
- To inform and educate families and communities on how prison exacerbates mental health issues, so they are better equipped to detect and support prisoners during critical points on release.