On 25 June 2019, Members of Parliament were invited to a brain injury screening session in Parliament, hosted by Chris Bryant MP to raise awareness of The Disabilities Trust’s work on brain injury in the Criminal Justice System.
It was a successful event with over ten MPs attending for screening, or to understand more about what we do. In attendance from The Disabilities Trust were Dr Ivan Pitman and Dr Rachael McNulty who have led on our work in prisons, Joss Gaynor, Head of Foundation, and Natasha Bloor, who worked in HMP Drake Hall as a Brain Injury Linkworker during our pilot project.
This was a fantastic opportunity for MPs to talk to experts in the field and learn more about acquired brain injury and how the screening process works. Our screening tool, the Brain Injury Screening Index (BISI) was developed in response to our research and uses eleven questions to help identify people with a brain injury, as well as giving an indication of the severity of the injury.
By showing MPs how the BISI works we were able to demonstrate just how straightforward it is to screen for a brain injury, whilst highlighting the impact of brain injury in prisons and how screening could help to reduce reoffending. The Trust believes brain injury should be included in health assessments on entry to prison and staff should be trained in brain injury awareness.
Joss Gaynor, Head of Foundation, said “The MP Screening Day was a great success and enabled us to spend some focused time with MPs to explain our work and our policy calls.”
Chris Bryant MP, Chair of the APPG on Acquired Brain Injury, said “All the evidence suggests that simple screening of all prisoners for brain injuries followed by the appropriate support could help rehabilitate offenders, cut reoffending and improve prisons. It’s time we followed the science.”
Many thanks to Chris Bryant MP for hosting the event, and to all the Members of Parliament who attended, took part in the screening and engaged with us.