It is now recognised that there is significant pressure within the prison system from a growing ageing population, coupled with almost 40% describing themselves as having a long-term condition or a disability (Scottish Prison Service 2019 Prisoner Survey).
This has implications for the support required within the prison service, but also when prisoners are eligible for release. Alongside, proactive therapeutic intervention which promotes strength and balance and physical activity, equipment and adaptations are part of the services which require to be systematically provided to support people within the prison system, and also facilitate successful transitions: at the point of admission, when transferred within the prison estate, or on release to the community.
Drawing on good practice from partnerships and their local prisons, a new Protocol for the Provision of Equipment to Prisons has been developed. The protocol aims to promote a consistent and reliable approach to the assessment, provision and uplift, of community equipment, used within the prison settings, to ensure that the needs of these prisoners are met effectively.
Key principles of the Protocol include:
- All assessments will be carried out either by appropriately trained HSCP staff for complex needs, or relevant prison based NHS healthcare starr for non-complex needs.
- SPS will provide a range of standard equipment to need long-term needs.
- The HSCP will provide equipment to meet short-term temporary needs.
- Wherever possible, equipment should be procured, maintained and paid for through local community equipment stores.
- Access to, and use of, recycled equipment should be encouraged.
It is hoped that this joint-working approach will ensure an effective and responsive service and ensure better outcomes for those within the prison population.
It is expected that local partnerships should utilise this Protocol as a tool to help them jointly review any current arrangements with their SPS colleagues, and improve these as required.
To aid transition into the community, the Scottish Prison service, Housing partners, and HSCP's should ensure clear pathways are developed with all relevant agencies, to ensure effective communication and engagement resulting in the provision of appropriate housing, and equipment and adaptations where required. This should be in line with the SHORE (Sustainable Housing On Release for Everyone) standards.
- Local partnerships should apply the principles of the Good Practice Guide for the Provision of Equipment to Prisons as a tool to help them jointly review any current service provision with their SPS colleagues, to streamline and improve the pathways for all equipment provision, and establish cohesive governance arrangements.
- It is expected that the following arrangements should be in place:
- Robust and consistent assessment pathways with NHS healthcare staff within the prison able to assess and recommend equipment for non-complex needs, and HSCP staff assessing for more complex needs;
- SPS to fund equipment for long term needs, and HSCP's to fund equipment for short-term loan;
- Business efficiencies maximised with access to local Store service arrangements for the provision of effectively procured and standardised equipment solution for both long-term and short-term provision.
- Local partnerships should work with SPS, and Housing colleagues to ensure the effective transition back into community, providing appropriate housing, and equipment and adaptations as part of a seamless pathway, and in line with the SHORE standards.
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