WA jail mental health review 'disturbing'

A review of help provided to acutely mentally unwell prisoners in WA has found an alarming number of inmates are not being properly cared for.

An alarming number of acutely mentally unwell prisoners in WA are not getting the help they need, the Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services has found.

It conducted the review of secure mental health treatment for prisoners after two women were moved from Bandyup jail to the Frankland Centre in disturbing circumstances.

One was driven there naked and handcuffed, and arrived covered in blood as she was menstruating.

The inspector's office found the cases were anomalies but reported figures showing demand for secure forensic mental health beds was far outstripping supply.

The findings included one-third of prisoners referred to the Frankland Centre on a Form 1A, which is for assessment by a psychiatrist for involuntary treatment, never being brought there.

The inspector's office said the figures were disturbing, but true demand was even higher

"The situation is worse than we had expected," it said in a report released on Tuesday.

"Psychiatrists who work in prisons are so aware of the shortage of forensic beds that they only make referrals in the most urgent of cases where a Form 1A might be clinically justified.

"It is rare for someone in the community who is placed on a Form 1A not to access a hospital.

"Care for prisoners is therefore falling well short of community standards."

Greens spokeswoman for corrective services and mental health Alison Xamon said the findings were unacceptable and called on the state government to take urgent action.

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Published 27 November 2018 at 8:30pm
Source: AAP