On 3rd March 2016 Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to tackle the incidence of deaths, serious assaults and incidents of self-harm in prison.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, in the light of the welcome announcement last autumn that a number of the old, unsuitable prisons were going to be replaced with purpose-built ones, will the Minister assure the House that the specifications for those new-builds will take very careful account of mental health issues, consulting with the charities that are dealing with this particular area and producing excellent educational, medical and spiritual facilities, so that we can minimise the level of mental health problems and maximise rehabilitation?
Lord Faulks: The right reverend Prelate makes an important point. He will have been reassured by what the Prime Minister said in his speech on 8 February—namely, that the design of these new prisons should be particularly directed towards helping mental health treatment. If necessary, that should allow individual governors to have appropriate control, with co-commissioning with NHS England to ensure that the significant numbers of inmates in prisons with mental health problems are adequately treated.