A woman who has been in and out of prison for 25 years is trying to become the first to publicly sue the NHS over allegations of poor mental health care in prison.
Farah Damji, 54, has four convictions for 28 offenses, including multiple counts of theft, fraud, stalking and violating a restraining order, which date back to 1995.
She spent time in eight British prisons, after her first six-month sentence at the notorious Rikers Island prison in new York.
After years of poor mental health, a psychologist diagnosed her with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in 2019.
Since 2013, the NHS has been responsible for the health care of prisoners in England, who it says are “guided by the principle that those who have committed a criminal offense should be able to access medical care equivalent to civilian patients.”
Ms. Damji pursues the center and northwest London NHS Foundation Trust for claiming she was repeatedly denied mental health care at HMP Bronzefield, HMP Downview and HMP Send between 2014 and 2020.
“Women are so reluctant to complain about anything in prison because they are too afraid of the repercussions,” she told Sky News.
She currently lives in Dublin, having fled her last trial for violating a restraining order in March 2020, which she claims to be because she suffered a blackout.
According to figures from the Ministry of Justice, more than 71% of the female prison population has mental health problems.
Andy Bell, deputy executive director of the Center for Mental Health, describes “poor well-being” as the “norm” in women’s prisons.
“Many incarcerated women have very complex needs resulting from a life of abuse and neglect,” he said. “So the NHS is trying to meet a lot of needs in an environment which is inherently difficult and far from conducive to good mental health support.”
Mrs. Damji …
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This notice was published: 2021-05-31 16:37:00