RECONNECT

RECONNECT is a care after custody service that seeks to improve the continuity of care of vulnerable people leaving prison or an immigration removal centre (IRC).  This involves working with them before they leave to support their transition to community-based services, thereby safeguarding health gains made whilst in prison or an IRC.

RECONNECT services aim to improve the wellbeing of people leaving prison or an IRC, reduce inequalities and address health-related drivers of offending behaviours. Whilst not a clinical service, RECONNECT offers liaison, advocacy, signposting, and support to facilitate engagement with community- based health and support services.

RECONNECT services also aim to:

  • Increase access to and uptake up of healthcare or relevant support services for individuals who have health vulnerabilities* upon release from prison or IRCs who would otherwise struggle to engage
  • Ensure that the health needs of individuals who are leaving prison or IRCs are met
  • Ensure a safe transition from prison or IRC to community-based healthcare and support services in England
  • Provide follow-up to ensure engagement is maintained

Who is RECONNECT for?

Any person aged 18 or above leaving a secure or detained setting (prison or IRC) with an identified health vulnerability which means that they would otherwise struggle to engage with community-based healthcare services and / or relevant support services.

What will RECONNECT do?

  • Offer support and release planning to individuals for up to 12 weeks prior to release or as soon as they are referred within the 12 weeks prior to their release.
  • Offer support for up to 6 months post-release date, or when all health care needs are met – whichever comes soonest (this may be extended in exceptional circumstances when it would be detrimental to the health of the individual to be discharged at 6 months).
  • Undertake an assessment of appropriateness of the referral and gain patient consent.
  • Offer the patient a minimum of 2 points of face-to-face contact prior to their release. If it is not possible to do face to face, then virtual, telephone or a combination of these methods will be offered.
  • Provide individuals with a named RECONNECT member of staff who will work with them prior to, and upon release, until they are engaged with an appropriate community-based health service care or support service appointment or are discharged from the service. Peer support should be available for every prison leaver where appropriate.
  • Work in a trauma informed way.
  • Ensure that where the individual is being held in an establishment outside of their home area, the RECONNECT service local to the prison and / or IRC will facilitate communication between the prison / IRC, the individual and receiving RECONNECT service.
  • Work closely with prison and / or IRC based healthcare teams, including physical and mental health services, substance misuse services and relevant support services.
  • Offer a holistic service that meets the needs of the individual.
  • Support those on Release on Temporary Licences (ROTL) up to 12 weeks before final release date where appropriate.

How can I access RECONNECT?

RECONNECT operates on a referral system. Referrals can be accepted from probation services, police, Liaison and Diversion services and / or Home Office enforcement teams for individuals who have been released in the past 28 days.

Self-referrals and those from friends and family can be made on behalf of an individual whilst they are in prison or immigration removal centre. We recommend they discuss this with their prison healthcare team or probation officer who can advise them how to refer to their local RECONNECT service.

For more information, please contact england.reconnect@nhs.net