Written evidence from The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists

 

1. Executive summary

 

2. The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists recommends:

  1. Speech and language therapy should be provided in all prisons to support people with communication or swallowing needs.
  2. All staff working along the justice pathway, including in prisons, should be trained to recognise and support women with speech, language and communication needs and swallowing difficulties. We recommend that all prison staff complete The Box communication training[ii].

 

3. Prevalence of speech, language and communication needs of women in the justice system

 

4. Why is the prevalence so high?


5. What is the impact of communication difficulties for women in the criminal justice system

 

6. Eating, drinking and swallowing needs (dysphagia)

 

7. Provision of speech and language therapy in prisons

 

Case study: Supporting women at Rampton High Secure

  • The women’s service focus on rehabilitation and treatment of the women’s difficulties and offending behaviour. Often the women within the service have experienced chaotic lifestyles with long histories of abuse and trauma.
  • The women’s service offer trauma informed assessment and treatment to target the women’s specific vulnerabilities.
  • Each woman is supported by a robust, embedded, multi-disciplinary team including psychiatrists, psychologists, speech and language therapists, dieticians, clinical nurse specialists, education and social workers. This allows for the provision of a range of treatments to treat the woman’s needs and target the underlying causes of offending.
  • All women are offered the opportunity to access a speech and language therapy assessment from which treatment plans and advice are provided.
  • The speech and language therapy team offer individual and group therapy programmes, support women to access verbally mediated therapies and provide indirect treatment through working with staff teams to increase their understanding and skills in communicating effectively. The speech and language therapy team also provide accessible information across the site.
  • Communication is at the heart of understanding and reducing restraint, therefore, the speech and language therapy works with the violence reduction team to embed the importance of communication in promoting least restrictive practice.

 

8. The role of speech and language therapists

Day to day roles and responsibilities of the speech and language therapy team are:

 

9. About the RCSLT

 

Submitted by Claire Moser, on behalf of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.

 

June 2021

 

 

REFERENCES


[i] Coles, H, Gillett, K, Murray, G, Turner, K (2017) ‘The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Justice Evidence Base Consolidation’https://www.rcslt.org/wp-content/uploads/media/Project/RCSLT/justice-evidence-base2017-1.pdf 

[ii] RCSLT The Box: Communication help for the justice system https://www.rcslt.org/learning/the-box-training/#section-2

[iii] Bryan, K., Garvani, G., Gregory, J. & Kilner, K. (2015). Language Difficulties and Criminal Justice: The Need for Earlier Identification. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 50 (6), 763-775

[iv] Law J, McBean, K, Rush, R. Communication skills in a population of primary school-aged children raised in an area of pronounced social disadvantage. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders. 2011;46(6):657-64.

[v] McNamara, N. (2012). Speech and language therapy within a forensic support service. Journal of Learning Disabilities and Offending Behaviour 3 (2) 111-117.

[vi] Talbot, J (2010). Seen and Heard: Supporting vulnerable children in the youth justice system. Prison Reform Trust www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/uploads/documents/SeenandHeardFINAL.pdf

[vii] Bryan, K., Garvani, G., Gregory, J. & Kilner, K. (2015). Language Difficulties and Criminal Justice: The Need for Earlier Identification. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 50 (6), 763-775.

[viii] Jacobson et al., 2010.

[ix] Prisoners’ childhood and family backgrounds. MOJ (2014) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prisoners-childhood-andfamily-backgrounds

[x] Prison Reform Trust (2017) “There’s a reason we’re in trouble”: Domestic abuse as a driver to women’s offending, London: PRT

[xi] Coles, H, Gillett, K, Murray, G, Turner, K (2017) ‘The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Justice Evidence Base Consolidation’https://www.rcslt.org/wp-content/uploads/media/Project/RCSLT/justice-evidence-base2017-1.pdf 

[xii] Loveless, J. (2010) ‘Domestic Violence, Coercion and Duress’, Criminal Law Review, pp. 1-3 2

[xiii] No One Knows, Prison Reform Trust

[xiv] Mothers in prison: The sentencing of mothers and the rights of the child, Rona Epstein, The Howard League Reform

[xv] Gender Specific Standards to Improve Health and Wellbeing for Women in Prison in England, Public Health England, 2018

[xvi] RCSLT, Speech, Language and Communication Capacity A National Asset,

[xvii] RCSLT, The intergenerational cycle of speech, language and communication, outcomes and risks

[xviii] K. J. Aldridge, N. F. Taylor (2012). Dysphagia in Adults with Mental Illness

[xix] Chapter 17: Psychiatric Disorders and Communication, Bryan K, University of Surrey, UK Almirall 

[xx] Consensus from Speech and Language Therapists working with women across low, medium and high secure units, 2021.

[xxi] RCSLT dysphagia Factsheet: Giving Voice to people with dysphagia, RCSLT,https://www.rcslt.org/wp-content/uploads/media/Project/RCSLT/rcslt-dysphagia-factsheet.pdf

[xxii] Giving Voice to people with dysphagia, RCSLT,https://www.rcslt.org/wp-content/uploads/media/Project/RCSLT/rcslt-dysphagia-factsheet.pdf

[xxiii] RCSLT mapping 2020 found significant gaps in the provision of speech and language therapy to prisons.

[xxiv] Coles, H, Gillett, K, Murray, G, Turner, K (2017) ‘The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Justice Evidence Base Consolidation’https://www.rcslt.org/wp-content/uploads/media/Project/RCSLT/justice-evidence-base2017-1.pdf