Demand for Speech and Language Therapists in prison settings

Did you know that 60% of people in prisons have speech, language and communication needs? 

Yet the majority of prison staff have little to no training in speech language and communication needs. 

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists have urged the Justice Select Committee to make changes and suggested that speech language and communication needs should be part of the induction programme. 

What are speech, language and communication needs (SLCN)? 

SLCN refers to challenges such as:

  • A difficulty interacting with others
  • Voice issues e.g. loss of voice
  • Trouble forming words and sentences 
  • Confusion on how to use/interpret verbal cues  
  • Difficulty using sounds to an accurate degree e.g. stammering 


Key highlights from the submission? 

The evidence recently submitted to the Justice Select Committee highlights that problems such as self-harm, aggression and violence are likely to arise should the inmates not receive the support they need. 

It also states that the provision of speech and language therapy in prisons up and down the country has increased over the last decade.While there is clear evidence supporting the benefits of such language therapy services, not all prison staff enter via the speech, language and communication needs and autism into the Unlocked Graduates programme route. Screening processes in prisons were also flagged as ineffective as there is no focus on communication needs which has led to seismic gaps in identification. 

What’s the solution?

Speech and language therapists can help identify SLCN in individuals and provide them with the resources and training needed to help them communicate to the best of their ability. In this scenario, the speech specialists would help train prison staff to assess inmates for SLCN and teach them how to provide support and help improve communication skills across the board. 


Looking for a role in speech and language therapy? Get in touch with our consultants on 0203 929 4017 today to find out more about how we can help!