On 21st November Dr Ivan Pitman, Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist at Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT) service, Redford Court, met with MPs and representatives from the UK Acquired Brain Injury Forum (UKABIF) and the University of Sheffield to discuss brain injury in the criminal justice system.
In attendance were Minister of State for Courts and Justice Rory Stewart, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Justice Edward Argar, Rhondda MP, Chris Bryant, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Acquired Brain Injury (APPG for ABI), UKABIF Director Chloe Hayward, and Nathan Hughes, Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield.
Among topics of discussion were exactly what neurorehabilitation is, how it makes a difference and the need for brain injury screening and training within prisons. Research carried out by The Disabilities Trust which runs BIRT, shows that 47% of prisoners have a history of traumatic brain injury, and that routine screening along with increased awareness and training could prove vital to reducing rates of reoffending. To aid this work, the Trust has developed the Brain Injury Screening Index (BISI), a tool that helps identify people who have sustained a brain injury. Attendees also discussed the Trust’s project in HMP Drake Hall, a closed women’s prison in Staffordshire, which provides a specialist brain injury Linkworker service.
Dr Pitman said, “The meeting was a great opportunity to talk about the need for screening, training and neurorehabilitative approaches within the prison system. Everyone was really engaged and we look forward to continuing the campaign.”
(Photograph L-R: Nathan Hughes, Chloe Hayward, Rory Stewart MP, Chris Bryant MP, Edward Argar MP, Ivan Pitman)