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Nursing justice and forensic healthcare

Case studies and good practice

Good nursing practice in justice and forensic health care

We are always keen to hear about good practice in justice and forensic nursing. If you know of recognised good practice in custody care, prison care, secure or detained services then we want to hear from you. 

Please email:

Here are some examples to draw inspiration from and we hope you might be able to adapt the principles into your own service provision.

Examples of good practice

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust. Learning Disabilities and the Criminal Justice System. Find out what happens to people with learning disabilities when taken into the criminal justice system.

Jess Davidson. A nurse who has revolutionised care in the cells. Jess ensures suspects get mental health assessments to avoid tragedy behind bars.

Lynne Pearce. Forensic nursing: why I love this complex and unpredictable job. (This article is free to read upon registration, which is also free).

NHS England. Working in the Health and Justice Sector. A series of short films of interviews with people currently working in a variety of healthcare roles in the justice system.

NHS England. Case studies and videos. These case studies share best practice and show how Liaison and Diversion (L&D) services can change lives.

NHS Isle of Wight. Improving patient safety: Recruiting prison healthcare staff.

Nottinghamshire Healthcare. Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion Service. This film showcases the Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion Service. The team identify, assess and refer people with mental health, intellectual disability needs and substance misuse issues when they first come in to contact with the Criminal Justice System.

Nursing Times (30 May 2018). Award for nurses who provide end of life care in prison. A nurse-led initiative in which hospice staff have taken their expertise on end of life care into prison settings has been recognised with an award.

Nursing Times (5 October 2018). Prison nurse calls for more positive view of the sector. Stephanie Smith, a nurse from HMP Hewell, highlights the positives of working within a prison healthcare setting and the fantastic work being undertaken on BBV screening and sexual health.

Primary Health Care Journal. How one nurse made a huge impact in police nursing to become an award winner. Frustrated with being unable to address patients’ needs during the 30-minute assessment he completes at Staffordshire Northern Area Custody Facility, Mr Teague-Hellon, a police forensic custody nurse, decided to set up a medical outreach team to reach these vulnerable people in local night shelters. (You will need to register to access this article: registration is free).

South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust. Integrated Approaches to Prison Healthcare. The story of reform of prison healthcare in Northern Ireland.

Worldwide Prison Health Research & Engagement Network (WEPHREN). International good practice on prison issues. See also: WEPHREN - Themed collections.

RCN magazines

Recent RCN magazine articles include:

  • Unsafe place. Fumes from the psychoactive drug spice are putting prison nursing staf at risk 
  • Doing your time. The challenges and rewards of a placement in a prison
  • Nursing behind bars. What is it like running health care services in the UK's largest prison?

Case studies

Working at HMP Berwyn - Staff talk about their day to day roles and opportunities to progress in their careers at HMP Berwyn. 

Devon Partnership NHS Trust street triage pilot - Devon Partnership NHS Trust (DPT) was successful in a bid to provide a new pilot service working with Devon and Cornwall Police. This service links with the liaison and diversion service, with existing mental health nurses and new recruits providing a joint remit of a day-time liaison and diversion service and a night-time street triage service across Devon. 

HMP Maidstone pulmonary rehabilitation project - Specialist Physiotherapist Helen Jefford and Respiratory Nurse Specialist Nina Turner developed an innovative project to introduce a programme of pulmonary rehabilitation at Maidstone Prison. The aim was that prisoners with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) could improve their fitness levels and benefit from the same level of support as people outside in the community.

Page last updated - 01/05/2022