Embedding third sector psychology services within the probation environment: an alternative to MHTRs

Publication Date25 Dec 2019
AuthorJames C. Fowler,Robyn Catherine Price,Kirsty Burger,Alice Jennifer Mattei,Ashley Mary McCarthy,Fiona Lowe,Thuthirna Sathiyaseelan
SubjectHealth & social care,Criminology & forensic psychology,Criminal psychology,Sociology,Sociology of crime & law,Deviant behaviour,Public policy & environmental management,Policing,Criminal justice
Embedding third sector psychology
services within the probation environment:
an alternative to MHTRs
James C. Fowler,Robyn Catherine Price,Kirsty Burger,Alice Jennifer Mattei,
Ashley Mary McCarthy,Fiona Lowe and Thuthirna Sathiyaseelan
Purpose The use of mental health treatmentrequirements (MHTRs) has not proven to be successful at
meeting the mental healthneeds of the probation population in the UK, largely throughunderuse of the
requirementor lack of available services. The paperaims to discuss this issue.
Design/methodology/approach This paperinvestigates a method of meeting those needswithout the
use of MHTRs by embeddingthird sector services within the probationenvironment.
Findings Results indicate a significant impact after a six-month follow-up in symptomology across measures
of depression, anxiety, general distress and social functioning; also indicated is a significant result on
recidivism, with 74 per cent of participants committing no further offences in the 12 months following treatment.
Originality/value These results representthe only evaluation of embedded, third sector mental health
services in a probation environment in the UK, and highlight a further need to embedspecialist mental
health services within the probation environment and generalise that practice to other forms of service
structureand therapeutic methodology.
Keywords Recidivism, Evaluation, CBT, Mental health, Probation, MHTR
Paper type Research paper
Mental health difficulties in the prison and probation populations far exceedthose in the general
population both in frequency, intensity and complexity (Martin et al.,2008), with approximately
70 per cent of a given prison population having a “dual diagnosis”, characterised by at least
two diagnoses of mental health difficulty (e.g. personality disorder and generalised anxiety
disorder, or depression); and 70 per cent of the probation population being considered
vulnerable due to symptoms of mental health difficulty. Brooker et al. (2014) assert that the high
levels of mental health difficulty within the probation population identified are not being
addressed adequately by current policy or practice. These difficulties present as risk factors to
offending, as comorbid difficulties, and as barriers to progression in other aspects of recovery.
Despite the prevalence of mental health difficulties within these populations and its clear
relationship to forensic risk as described by the HCR-20 (e.g. Douglas et al.,2013), there is
a scarcity of research on mentalhealth in these populations (Sirdifield, 2012;Sirdifield et al.,
2009) and less on the impact of clinical intervention to support the populations, particularly
in the probation population (Long et al., 2018). Of particular concern is that spending
(specifically through the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)),in the UK for those serving
community orders was reduced from 7 per cent of spending to 1 per cent of spending
between 2013 and 2014, with 20 per cent of CCGs contending that spending in this area
was the responsibility of local NationalHealth (NHS) Services (Brooker et al.,2015).
James C. Fowleris based at
ConsultancyServices, St
Robyn Catherine Price is
based at ASD Psychology,
St Andrew’s Healthcare,
Northampton, UK.
Kirs ty Burger and Alice Jennifer
Mattei are both based a t St
Ashley Mary McCarthy is
based at Department of
Psychological Medicine,
King’s College
London Denmark Hill
Campus, London, UK.
Fiona Lowe and Thuthirna
Sathiyaseelan are both based
at Consultancy Services, St
Andrew’s Healthcare,
Northampton, UK.
Received 12 April 2019
Revised 27 September 2019
30 November 2019
Accepted 3 December 2019
The authorsof this paper
acknowledgethe contribution of
St Andrew’sHealthcare, a
registeredmental health charity
in the UK,for providing clinical
and administrativestaff
resourcefor this study.
PAGE 16 jJOURNAL OF CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGY jVOL. 10 NO. 1 2020, pp. 16-29, ©Emerald Publishing Limited, ISSN 2009-3829 DOI 10.1108/JCP-04-2019-0013

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