HMP Wakefield sleep pilot set to boost prisoner wellbeing across the country

A sleep study carried out at HMP Wakefield has been praised by the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) - and now its findings are set to boost prisoner health and wellbeing across the country.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 10:41 am
Updated Thursday, 19th December 2019, 10:43 am

Working with researchers from Imperial College London and the charity Users’ Voices, the prison’s Health in Justice healthcare team developed an evidence-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy intervention for prisoners suffering from insomnia.

At HMP Wakefield a pilot group of 36 patients took part, using the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for insomnia (CBTi) programme.

The participants were given in-cell, sleep-focussed activity packs and were also helped by peer-supporters, who were trained in basic sleep management techniques.

HMP Wakefield sleep pilot set to boost prisoner wellbeing across the country

The pilot’s success has been recognised by the RCGP who awarded it with a commendation at its recent Secure Environment Conference.

Medical director Dr Sarah Bromley said: “Prolonged insomnia can result in numerous physical, mental and emotional issues, ranging from anxiety and depression to suicide and self-harm in extreme cases.

"These behaviours have far-reaching implications for prisoner safety and healthcare resources.

"The social impact of sleep deprivation can significantly impact the safety of others, including fellow prisoners and prison officers on the receiving end of violent or aggressive outbursts fuelled by lack of sleep.

Medical director Sarah Bromley.

“The pilot was a great success. Of those who completed the full course, around 97 per cent experienced better sleep.

"We will continue to work with prison staff at HMP Wakefield to use the booklets and peer supporters, extending across our network of 43 prisons using a regional roll-out approach.”