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Care and support for prisoners

Introduction to care and support for prisoners

What is care and support for prisoners?

Prisoners who need care and support because of an illness, disability or mental health issues have a right to the same sort of social care support as the rest of the population. Wakefield Council is responsible for meeting the care and support needs of prisoners while they are in Wakefield district regardless of where they came from originally and it also supports prisoners who are about to be released to live in Wakefield district.

Why is social care needed in prisons?

Mental illness, substance misuse and learning disabilities are more common among the adult prison population than in the population in general. The number of older prisoners has also increased in recent years and with it the number of age-related illnesses and disabilities.

Understanding care and support for prisoners

Which prisoners are covered by Wakefield Council?

  • Prisoners in HMP Wakefield and HMP New Hall
  • Prisoners from other prisons preparing for release into accommodation in Wakefield district.

What can prisoners who need care and support expect?

  • An assessment of their health and social care needs
  • The same standard of social care service that people living in their own home have
  • Integrated health and social care services
  • A prison regime that takes account of prisoners’ social care needs
  • Aids and equipment to meet assessed social care needs
  • Advice and guidance to prevent care and support needs getting worse

Who can get care and support?

If you are a prisoner and are struggling with daily living tasks, such as washing, going to the toilet, eating and drinking, getting dressed, getting into and out of bed, getting around, accessing working or going to education, because of a physical or learning disability, mental health problems or an illness, you may be able to get help. You will need to have a social care assessment to find out whether you are eligible for support.

Do prisoners have to pay for social care?

Prisoners are subject to the same financial assessment to determine how much, if anything, they need to pay towards the cost of their care as they would be in the community.

Things that you can do to help yourself

Talk to prison staff

Prison, probation and healthcare staff have a duty of care to prisoners. They can refer you for a social care assessment and help to meet your needs, for example, with gym rehabilitation, fellow prisoner support or changes to the regime. Prison staff have an important role to play in letting councils know when a prisoner with care and support needs is on the move to ensure that there is no disruption in the care being provided.

Listen to the National Prison Radio Podcast April 2015

As the Care Act went live in April 2015, Rupert Bailie from the National Offender Management Service and Ian Anderson from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, were interviewed for National Prison Radio. Run as a charity, National Prison Radio supports serving prisoners to make radio programmes that address issues that are important for prisoners and which are then broadcast to every prison in England and Wales. Rupert and Ian were invited to talk about the Care Act and what it might mean for prisoners. Attached is the podcast of that interview.

Support services that are available

Wakefield Council

Social care support in Wakefield district is provided by Wakefield Council. You can contact Wakefield Council’s Social Care Direct yourself to request an assessment of your social care needs or complete a form from below. Prison staff can also make a referral for an assessment on your behalf.
You can contact Social Care Direct by
Telephone: 0345 8 503 503.
Fax: 01924 303455
Online forms

Opening hours: 24 hours / 7 days a week


If a prisoner does not have the ability to be involved in their social care assessment or care plan because of a lack of mental capacity or communication difficulties, they may be entitled to help from an independent advocate, which is someone independent of the Council who can speak for them. Referrals to an independent advocate will be made by the social worker if required.
If the assistance of an advocate is required, contact Wakefield Council’s Social Care Direct.
You can contact Social Care Direct by

Opening hours: 24 hours / 7 days a week

Telephone: 0345 8 503 503.
Fax: 01924 303455

Online forms:

Opening hours: 24 hours / 7 days a week

Further information

Wakefield Council’s Support for Prisoners leaflet

Information for people in prison booklet. (PDF 26.46 MB)


PACT supports prisoners and ex-offenders and their families in prison and after release to maintain family relationships, reintegrate into the community and reduce re-offending. It has information and advice on its website and a helpline for information about issues such as going to court or visiting a prison.

Freephone: 0808 808 3444

Prisoners’ Families and Friends Service

Prisoners’ Families and Friends Service is a service for relatives and supporters of prisoners provided by PACT. As well as the PACT free helpline, the Prisoners’ Families and Friends Service provides information and advice, help at court and a befriending service for families of prisoners.

Freephone: 0808 808 3444

Offenders' Families Helpline

Offenders’ Families Helpline offers information and support for families relating to arrest, courts and prisons. If you’re worried about a family member who has been arrested or is in prison, you can phone the Offenders' Families Helpline for help or find answers on the website.

Freephone: 0808 808 2003 (Monday – Friday 9am – 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am – 3pm, closed bank holidays)
Email: info@offendersfamilieshelpline.org


NACRO’s Resettlement Advice Service helps ex-offenders with practical matters such getting a job, training, housing, money, and drug and alcohol services. Its Resettlement Service Finder is an online directory of different services.

Phone: 0300 123 1999 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm)
Email: helpline@nacro.org.uk

Last reviewed: 13/05/2016

Useful links:

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