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Justice Committee examines health and education support for women in prison

13 September 2021

The Justice Committee continues its inquiry into women in prison on Tuesday 14 September with a session focussing on health and education. They will take evidence from Chair of the National Women’s Prisons Health and Social Care Review, Jenny Talbot OBE, psychiatric and general health practitioners, and representatives of the Prisoner Education Trust and Novus.

Purpose of the session

The session will investigate the quality of health care provided to women in prisons, from understanding the underlying health conditions upon arrival, to availability of health services during incarceration, and continuity of care on release. The Committee will also ask why levels of self-harm are so high in women’s prisons and what work is being done to address it.


The Ministry of Justice has assessed that 40% of women in custody were identified as having a learning disability and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists found that 79% had speech language or educational needs. At least half of women entering prison have no formal qualifications. The session will examine what education opportunities there are for women in prison and how barriers to accessing education can be overcome.


Tuesday 14 September


Panel 1

  • Dr Cath Durkin, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr Amanda Brown, GP at HMP Bronzefield and Author of ‘The Prison Doctor: Women Inside’
  • Jenny Talbot OBE, Independent Chair, National Women’s Prisons Health and Social Care Review (via ZOOM)


Panel 2 

  • Francesca Cooney, Head of Policy, Prisoner Education Trust (via ZOOM)
  • Annick Platt, Director of Operations, Novus

Further information

Image: MoJ