We were really pleased to see our work to build understanding of the needs of offenders with brain injury in prisons referenced in The Economist today (Friday, March 26).

The article took a global slant on work happening internationally to build understanding of the needs of offenders who have sustained a brain injury, and the link between this and offending.

Our Linkworker service, which operates in HMP Cardiff and HMP Swansea, in Wales, was featured in the article. Philippa Birch, Linkworker for the Disabilities Trust, who trains prison staff about the needs of people with brain injury and the behaviours they may display, especially in a criminal justice setting, as well as working with offenders to ensure they get the support they need, was interviewed for the piece.

She said: “I was so pleased to see our work featuring alongside other projects happening internationally. The impact of brain injury on offending and the criminal justice system is huge. Our work to equip staff with the right tools to support offenders has been really well received. We are pleased as a Trust to see more debate and enquiry on this significant area.”

The Trust has trained more than 2,000 professionals in the criminal justice system to build their understanding of the needs of offenders with a brain injury. We have provided bespoke support to more than 500 offenders with brain injury in prisons across England and Wales, as well as dealt with 1,000 referrals.

Philippa was quoted in the article as saying: “People working in prisons often think those with brain injuries come across as aggressive or rude. They stand too close or do not pay attention to instructions. Prisoners find lessons in controlling their emotions and anger particularly helpful. Overworked prison staff are grateful for the smoother interactions.”

The importance of brain injury awareness was recognised by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), who updated their guidance based on the Trust’s research.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the impact of brain injury can read more here - https://www.thedtgroup.org/about-us/publications/the-foundation

The full article in The Economist can be viewed here - https://www.economist.com/international/2021/03/27/brain-injuries-are-startlingly-common-among-those-who-have-committed-crimes