Mental health funding to tackle reoffending in Wales

Offenders in Wales with low-level mental health issues will be required to address them as part of a government scheme to tackle a major root cause of crime

  • government invests £1.1 million to address root cause of crime
  • funding will steer criminals into treatment and reduce reoffending
  • up to 750 offenders could be treated in boost to public protection

Around 700 offenders in Wales will be told to attend treatment when they are handed a community sentence in court, in an effort to bear down on the £18 billion cost of reoffending to taxpayers.

The Government has awarded £1.1 million to G4S with Forensic Psychology Consultancy to run the initiative, which will see offenders assessed by a mental health practitioner to inform sentencing and start targeted treatment, or therapy, within weeks. At the moment this typically takes much longer – increasing the chances of reoffending.

The funding will support more offenders to access the treatment they need as part of a tough and effective community sentence that tackles the root causes of their offending.

Regional Probation Director for Wales, Nic Davies, said:

"We know mental health issues can often be an underlying cause of crime so targeted treatment and support is vital if we want to protect the public, reduce reoffending and help offenders move on with their lives.

"This investment is a significant boost for mental health support in Wales and will make it easier for the Probation Service to supervise offenders through their sentence and become a law-abiding member of society."

The new service follows a successful pilot in Swansea which has been running since August 2021. The pilot found that 80 per cent of offenders who took part in this type of community order experienced a significant benefit to their mental health.

G4S Community Director, Ben Lloyd, said:

"Our communities are home to many people who have treatment needs but who struggle to access the support that would help them to manage their condition or situation and overcome the challenges they face.

"While too many of these people find themselves involved in the justice system, a court hearing provides an opportunity for sentencers to consider what has happened, what support may be required to help people to stabilise, achieve some change and to return to an active and contributory role in their families and neighbourhoods."

From: Ministry of Justice and HM Prison and Probation Service