Criminal justice and mental health

Discrimination and inequality in health and criminal justice are key policy areas for ROTA and despite numerous reforms BAME communities continue to face a number of issues from disproportionality in treatment of prisoners, access to services and workforce representation. In June 2011, following extensive consultation across each London borough, ROTA decided to focus part of its policy work on looking at issues at the intersection of criminal justice and mental health. ROTA will continue to carry out scoping and sustainability activities and work with frontline organisations to develop a package of capability to ensure BAME communities voices are being heard in this key area.

Past Criminal Justice events

Race Equality in Criminal Justice and Mental Health - One Day Training

Tuesday 15th November 2011

The session will provide:

  • a basic introduction to the Equality Act 2010;
  • explain what types of discrimination are unlawful and who is protected;
  • introduce the new Public Sector Equality Duty and explain how this duty may affect voluntary and community organisations as recipients of funding and contracts from public sector bodies;
  • explain how to review and update your policies and procedures and take practical steps to comply with the Act;
  • explore how you can use the Act and the Public Sector Equality Duty to promote race equality and hold public bodies to account;
  • answer your questions and provide information on how to identify sources of information, assistance, guidance and advice.

For more information, please contact

The training is free for voluntary and community organisations with an annual turnover less than £1million. There will be a cost of £100 for public and private sector representatives to attend. All food, drink and training materials will be provided on the day.


Criminal Justice and Mental Health ROTA's and Action 4Advocacy Consultation Event - 21st July 2011.

ROTA event: criminal justice and mental health a complex issue for BAME communities

ROTA meetingOver 80 delegates from across the mental health sector and criminal justice system descended on Coin Street Community Centre on 21 July to contribute to a discussion on Exploring the fault line - issues at the intersection of criminal justice and mental health.

The event, joint-hosted by ROTA and Action for Advocacy, brought together experts, including policymakers, practitioners, academics, BAME voluntary sector representatives and professionals, to share thoughtful ideas on key concerns, gaps in service delivery and potential areas of opportunity.

Speakers Simon Fulford (Khulisa UK), Graham Durcan (Centre for Mental Health), Ewan MacKenzie (NOMS), Viv Ahmun (Coreplan UK), Linda Bryant (Together) and Ciaran Rafferty (City Bridge Trust) provided an insightful backdrop for a variety of key topics to be discussed during lively table discussions. Significant areas of discussion included current thinking on the state of offender health provision, steps for improving the physical and mental health of those in the criminal justice system, difficulties with diversion services, extreme trauma and propensity to violence.

Early returns from evaluation forms indicate that the majority of delegates appreciated the opportunity to come together and hear different opinions whilst various aspects around process (audio, food and representation) need further consideration for future work.

Speakers' presentations are available below. View event photos here (all photos courtesy of Elizabeth Frimpong).

Graham Durcan - Diversion: attempting a gold standard
Ewan MacKenzie - Managing equalities in prisons
Ciaran Rafferty - City Bridge Trust - a funder's perspective

Click HERE to download the event report.