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65% of women in prison report having mental health issues. St Giles Trust’s Footsteps Project helps vulnerable women in custody and those recently released to get the support and services they need to ease the transition into the community and stabilise their situations. As caseworker describes her work with ‘C’ here:
“C was referred to me by both the Together Mental Health Court Diversion team and prison resettlement. She had been street homeless for 4 ½ years. She has a diagnosis of complex PTSD, depression, anxiety, has suffered domestic abuse and numerous sexual assaults on the street including a recent gang rape where her jaw was broken. She was in prison on charges of theft.
I had been joint working with the prison In Reach and Resettlement teams. The client was released but the tenancy was hijacked by dealers and she overdosed after being injected by someone.
She would have been of no fixed abode if released so we submitted a request for the client to be detained in custody as a matter of safeguarding for a full mental health assessment to be carried out. The judge granted this without hesitation and for the court to cover the cost as well as a recommendation that, when she is released, a community order with a mental health requirement is put in place. I attended court to support the client and was able to meet with her afterwards to reassure her of ongoing support as well as being able to visit her in prison before the next court hearing.”