John Howard Centre

John Howard Centre
12 Kenworthy Road,
E9 5TD
Open 24 hours a day all year round

This facility is for people with a mental health problem who have been arrested, who are on remand or who have been to court and found guilty of a crime. Most people are detained in secure forensic services under mental health legislation. 

The John Howard Centre provides specialist forensic psychiatric services to the City of London and the London Boroughs of Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Havering  and Barking and Dagenham. Additionally, the Millfields Unit's Personality Disorder Service accepts referrals from the whole of London, north of the Thames.

The John Howard Centre consists of eight male inpatient wards, a female inpatient ward and a specialist secure ward for men with learning disabilities. The Millfields Unit provides Personality Disorder (DSPD Programme)and is part of a national pilot.

Wolfson House is our Low Secure Rehabilitation Unit for men based in north London.

Medical Records can be contacted on: 020 8510 2159/58

Patients are admitted to forensic services from acute mental health services where specialist support is indicated, courts, prisons and by instruction from the Ministry of Justice.

Our forensic services provide assessment, treatment interventions and care to service users diagnosed with a range of mental health conditions including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis and other serious mental health symptoms.

Not everyone who has a mental health problem and comes into contact with the police or the courts will be referred to forensic services. Many people who have offended do get sent to prison.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

The time spent in forensic units depends on an individual’s recovery and progress towards rehabilitation. Professionals who work in forensic mental health services take decisions about length of stay in collaboration with the professionals who will be responsible for an individual's support and care following discharge. If someone has been found guilty of a violent offence, or has been considered to be dangerous, the Ministry of Justice and Parole Board are involved in decisions about discharge.


‘Forensic’ means ‘pertaining to the law’. These services are an alternative to prison for people who have a mental health problem and offer specialist treatment and care. They are ‘secure’ units, which means that people who are referred there are not free to come and go.

The philosophy and aims of the forensic rehabilitation service are encompassed by the recovery model. This is a patient centred model that focuses on patient empowerment, collaboration and aims to enable each individual’s journey of recovery.

Everything you need to know when visiting anyone on one of our wards

Additionally, all our forensic service sites have specific security arrangements and protocols which all staff, patients and visitors have to comply with. This includes depositing mobile phones, camera, etc. into lockers provided in the main entrance.



Severe symptoms of mental illness

Clinical speciality:

Adult Mental Health Service