Francesca Fattore, ex prisoner in connection with Debasco.

In newly released statistics it has been revealed that over 70% of prisoners in the UK self-harm, this is almost the highest percentage we have ever seen.

This poses the question of whether our prisoners are receiving the best mental health care that they possibly can.

Glenna Debasco, former mental health worker at Bronzefield prison, spoke of her experience of working with individuals within the prison system.

“What I walked into was essentially a psychological car crash of women, the majority of which shouldn’t have been there.”

Shoplifters, victims of domestic violence who had committed a crime because of their partner and those with mental health issues were among those being detained at Bronzefield, along with serial killers.

“These women shouldn’t have been in such close quarters with such dangerous people, it’s extremely terrifying and traumatising for them.”

Debasco also said the prison was a ‘traumatising work environment’, leaving after just one year with PTSD, she has been unable to work since.

“There were so many cases of self-harm and suicides while I was there.

“Mental health and emotional wellbeing was extremely undervalued, and staff were undertrained for cases as bad as this.”

She details the constant circulation of new staff as, similarly to herself, many found the environment unbearable to be in.

These are professionals, of which are being paid to be there, it is impossible to think how it must feel for a prisoner who is stuck there.

Debasco finished by saying “We need an alternative to prison for those who have committed non-serious crimes, this is not working.

“We also need resettlement programs for life after prison, in some cases people are released into dangerous situations in which they would have been safer remaining in prison with serial killers.”

Mental health for prisoners is a conversation that has gone too long ignored, action needs to be taken.