Probation’s role in offender mental health

Sirdifield, Coral and Owen, Sara (2016) Probation’s role in offender mental health. International Journal of Prisoner Health, 12 (3). pp. 185-199. ISSN 1744-9200

Probation’s role in offender mental health
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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


Purpose: To examine how the role in offender mental health for the probation service described in policy translates into practice through exploring staff and offenders’ perceptions of this role in one Probation Trust. In particular, to examine barriers to staff performing their role and ways of overcoming them.
Design/methodology/approach: Qualitative secondary analysis of data from semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 11 probation staff and 9 offenders using the constant comparative method..
Findings: Both staff and offenders defined probation’s role as identifying and monitoring mental illness amongst offenders, facilitating access to and monitoring offenders’ engagement with health services, and managing risk. Barriers to fulfilling this role included limited training, a lack of formal referral procedures/pathways between probation and health agencies, difficulties in obtaining and administering mental health treatment requirements, problems with inter-agency communication, and gaps in service provision for those with dual diagnosis and personality disorder. Strategies for improvement include improved training, developing a specialist role in probation and formalising partnership arrangements Research limitations/implications: Further research is required to explore the transferability of these findings, particularly in the light of the recent probation reforms.
Practical implications:
Social implications:
Originality/value: This is the first paper to explore how staff and offenders perceive probation’s role in offender mental health in comparison with the role set out in policy.

Keywords:probation service, Mental health, qualitative secondary analysis, transforming rehabilitation, Qualitative research, Offender health, NotOAChecked
Subjects:B Subjects allied to Medicine > B760 Mental Health Nursing
L Social studies > L400 Social Policy
L Social studies > L560 Probation/After Care
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Health & Social Care
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ID Code:22660
Deposited On:13 Jul 2016 09:13

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