The Disabilities Trust has created “Neurorehabilitation Intervention Packs” to address some of the cognitive, behavioural, emotional and psychological symptoms of brain injury.

These in-cell intervention strategies can help to reduce the impact of isolation by providing activity and distraction.

There are nine individual packs for problems such as anxiety, depression, memory, anger, impulsivity and fatigue.

They will be distributed with HMP Cardiff and made available nationally to all prisons and other criminal justice settings.

Each document contains a summary of the difficulty faced after brain injury and then interventions that the user can try to implement to reduce this.

Each pack also contains a log so that the user can fill in what they tried and whether it worked for them.

Research by The Disabilities Trust suggests that prisoners with acquired brain injury face higher rates of anxiety and depression than other inmates.

There are concerns that this is being further exacerbated by prisoners being confined to their cells for up to 23 hours a day, as prisons look to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

Many may not have access to specialist support or their usual visits from friends and family.

Wider research shows that roughly half of all prisoners may have experienced a brain injury.

The Disabilities Trust has contributed to this research and found 47 per cent of men at HMP Leeds and 64 per cent of women at HMP/YOI Drake Hall reported histories which indicated they had sustained a brain injury.

Jocelyn Gaynor, head of foundation at The Disabilities Trust, said: “Coronavirus presents an unprecedented challenge nationally and also for the prison system.

“In order to ensure the safety of prisoners and prison staff, prisons have increasingly restricted regimes, suspended all visits from friends and family and reduced all non-essential staff from entering the premises.

“Whilst these measures are all efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus and keep people safe, there are significant risks to prisoner’s mental health from the increased lockdown.

“Isolation is widely recognised to be a significant burden on mental health and with the increasing restrictions imposed due to coronavirus, prisoner’s experience of isolation will be further compounded.

“An acquired brain injury can cause significant challenges regulating emotions and developing coping strategies and therefore in the current climate of increased isolation, The Disabilities Trust are concerned that prisoners with an ABI will suffer the most and place increased demands on the reduced prison staff.

“It is therefore critical that prisoners with an ABI are identified so that prison staff can recognise those who will struggle the most and may present the most challenging behaviour. It is vital that these packs reach affected prisoners – and those leaving prison early – to support them in these challenging times.”

The Disabilities Trust is also working to produce some brief awareness raising training videos to support prison and probation staff to understand the potential increased impacts of restrictions on those with an acquired brain injury.

The Disabilities Trust’s intervention packs are available for free to all institutions across the criminal justice system to enable men and women both in prisons and under the supervision of probation to navigate the impacts of their brain injury at this increasingly challenging time.

These packs are free to download from https://www.thedtgroup.org/the-disabilities-trust-news-and-media/news/the-disabilities-trust-creates-self-help-tools-for-prisoners-with-brain-injury.