A new service run by Nottinghamshire Healthcare is working to help individuals successfully resettle into the community following their release from prison.
The Critical Time Intervention (CTI) Team at HMP Lincoln was created to ensure vulnerable people receive a continuity of care on release from prison. The CTI team specifically works with individuals with any ongoing general health, mental health or social care needs; helping to build a person’s resilience to regain inclusion back into the community.
The team is currently working with 21 people who would normally come up against barriers to resettling after release, such as struggling to register with GPs, which in turn impacts upon their inclusion into other healthcare services. People released from prison with healthcare needs often struggle to establish support networks in a community setting, becoming increasingly isolated due to their difficulties and escalating any risk to themselves and others. By ensuring they are supported to access services and support in the community, the likelihood of social inclusion increases whilst the risk of reoffending decreases.
Sarah-Jayne Holmes, CTI Practitioner said: “It is really important that we make sure that vulnerable people leaving prison are supported back in the community so that wherever possible, they can integrate back into society and have the best chance of avoiding reoffending and getting stuck in a vicious cycle of returning to the criminal justice system and prison. We are really delighted that already we are seeing how this support is making a difference to people’s lives.”
One of the team’s recent success stories is an individual with complex healthcare needs who is now settled, with accommodation and long-term support in place. The team liaised closely with Lincolnshire Police, Assisting Rehabilitation Through Collaboration (ARC) to help this person resettle in the community. When asked about the impact that CTI had on him, he said: “CTI really helped me a lot and I am very grateful, they are an amazing service.”
D/Sgt Phil Muirhead, ARC said: “Release from prison is a critical time for each individual. It is a chance to start again and choose a better path. But without support for the issues that led that person into prison - like mental health, addiction, homelessness – it is not really a chance to start again at all. When we invest in that person, we do so in partnership with the organisations that can really make a difference. It’s those organisations which make up ARC and which can really help. Collaboratively, we effectively remove the barriers that are preventing that person from making positive decisions and moving forwards. Ultimately, it is down to the individual to make the best decision, and when they do, they are not the only person to benefit; it’s their family and society as a whole. The CTI team are dedicated to this work offering practical solutions to vital needs which hugely complements the work of ARC.”
The CTI team’s success is very much dependent on working closely with partnership agencies within and outside of the prison. They have built on meaningful collaborations to engage in a seamless continuity of care for those they support.
The team is also working in partnership with Lincoln City Council’s Intervention team. Their joint working aims to support those living out on the street to make positive change and reduce drug use and anti-social behaviour on Lincoln’s streets.
Francesca Bell, Public Protection, Anti-Social Behaviour and Licensing Service Manager, said: “The Lincoln Intervention Team works collaboratively with the CTI Team at HMP Lincoln to ensure we offer individuals a bespoke service tailored to their individual needs, with the ambition of improving their overall health whilst also ensuring a safer city for all.”
Sarah continued: “Some people are extremely frightened of leaving prison and are at high risk of homelessness for a number of reasons. They may have been homeless before entering prison and may self-medicate with substances to mask multiple historical traumas and mental health difficulties. Some of them will have no idea how to make positive changes; homelessness and trauma may be all they know but they are desperate for support.”
Whilst the recent success story is encouraging and highlights the importance of CTI, there is still a long way for the team to go. Currently CTI Lincoln is a team of three hardworking, dedicated staff however, the sheer number of those who require support is overwhelming. Alongside CTI, there are more agencies emerging that are tailored to this client group, with the aims of supporting inclusion into services in the community. It is clear that the ultimate goal will be achieved as a collective effort across services, with CTI bridging the gap between prison and community teams.