Relational fragility, development and an emerging self: service user views of engaging in an IIRMS in the OPD pathway

Publication Date12 August 2019
Date12 August 2019
AuthorSue Ryan,Frances Gordon,Neil Gordon
SubjectHealth & social care
Relational fragility, development and
an emerging self: service user views
of engaging in an IIRMS in the
OPD pathway
Sue Ryan, Frances Gordon and Neil Gordon
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to gain an in-depth view into how participants perceived their
experience of engaging in an enhanced Intensive Intervention and Risk Management Service (IIRMS), which is
a part of the Offender Personality Disorder (OPD) pathway based within the community.
Design/methodology/approach Five participants were inte rviewed. They were at diff erent points
of engagement with the service. Interviews were taped, transcribed and analysed using the grounded
theory methodology.
Findings Participants were able to provide in-depth reflections about their experiences at the service. The
main issues centred upon managing fragile relationshipsand an emerging self. Subcategories linked to
managing fragile relationships were: letting people in and keeping them away;surviving the ruptures;
and treating me like a person. Subcategories linked to an emerging self were: readiness to changeand
making new connections.
Research limitations/implications This study focused upon one enhanced IIRMS and findings are not
necessarily generalisable to other services within the OPD pathway, although themes are likely to resonate for
those leaving custody with complex interpersonal difficulties.
Practical implications This study has provided access to participantsperspectives on engaging with an
IIRMS. Many factors impact upon the individuals journey, which is central to the relational approach
underpinning the pathway.
Originality/value The findings have important messages for service providers and commissioners and
crucially service user perspectives have been obtained that are integral to future development of the OPD
pathway. The findings are also relevant for released prisoners attempting to reintegrate within the community.
Keywords Relationships, Engagement, Offender Personality Disorder pathway, Service user views,
Grounded theory, Intensive Intervention and Risk Management Service
Paper type Research paper
An acknowledgement of the large number of people within the criminal justice system with
significant personality difficulties/disorders with unmet needs, led to a joint approach from the
National Offender Management Service (NOMS) (now known as Her Majestys Prison and
Probation Service (HMPPS)) and NHS England in the creation of the Offender Personality
Disorder (OPD) pathway (DoH/NOMS, 2011). The OPD strategy aims to improve public
protection by reducing the risk of reoffending and to enhance the psychological wellbeing of
service users by providing specific interventions, improving the workforce and developing
psychologically informedenvironments within prisons and the community. It is innovative in that
it recognises the value of collaboration between health and criminal justice services in providing a
joined-up approach to minimise what can often be experienced by recipients and providers as
fragmented and rejecting systems.
The pathway aims to pool knowledge and expertise to create supportive systems that better
address the needs of individuals in relation to risk and vulnerability; understanding people in the
Received 26 February 2019
Revised 5 June 2019
Accepted 7 June 2019
Sue Ryan is based at
Resettle Mersey Care NHS
Trust, Liverpool, UK
Frances Gordon and
Neil Gordon are both based at
the Institute of Mental Health,
University of Nottingham,
Nottingham, UK.
DOI 10.1108/JFP-02-2019-0007 VOL. 21 NO. 3 2019, pp. 169-179, © Emerald Publishing Limited, ISSN 2050-8794
PAG E 16 9

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