Findings are presented from an evaluation of a pilot remand and assessment service - the Bentham Unit, The aims of the Bentham Unit are to provide rapid assessment, identify mentally disordered remand prisoners, and speed their transfer from prison to NHS care, where a need is indicated.
The number, rate and speed of referral, assessment and transfer to NHS care of offenders remanded to Wormwood Scrubs prison during periods before and after the Bentham Unit opened were compared.
The service attracted a large volume of referrals. Between the two periods, significant increases in the numbers of referrals and hospital disposals, and major reductions in the interval between reception on remand into the prison, NHS assessment and transfer to NHS care, were observed.
The aims of the unit were met. Implications for service configurations are discussed.
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