Public Health England has worked with Revolving Doors, a charity working to improve the lives of those in contact with the criminal justice system (CJS), the Home Office and NHS England to publish the ‘Rebalancing Act’ (building upon the Balancing Act from approximately four years ago, which was published to mark changes to the health and CJS). This publication looks at ways in which partnership and collaboration can be strengthened to address the health inequalities faced by those in contact with the CJS.

It is intended as a resource for directors of public health, police and crime commissioners and other system leaders at a local, regional and national level, to support collaborative work to reduce offending and improve health inequalities among people in contact with the CJS.

It is considered that approximately two million people per year have contact with police forces and amongst this population are those who experience significant health problems, often complicated by social issues, unemployment, debt, homelessness and social isolation. It was found that those in contact with the CJS often experience significant health inequalities including a higher burden of disease and less access to health services, including prevention services.

The publication is said to be a ‘call for action’ and will require strong leadership at all levels. The idea is not to develop new services, but rather ensure current services are collaborating effectively, sharing information, or even that they pool funding to deliver services that are more effective. Once engaged the aim is said to:

  • Build understanding of the specific health needs of people in contact with the CJS locally
  • Engage with communities, including service users and those with lived experience
  • Commission and deliver programmes jointly with partners across the system, including developing early intervention and prevention programmes, monitor and evaluate progress and change

Further briefings will follow the Rebalancing Act to give consideration to matters such as NHS sustainability, transformation plans and commissioning.

Through understanding and meeting the health and social needs of people in contact with the CJS the hope is that this will reduce offending and improve community safety.

The link to the Rebalancing Act can be found on the Revolving Doors website.