June 3, 2015 by Mackenzie, J.-M., Cartwright, T., Beck, A., Borrill, J.
Filed under Probation
The current study sought to explore the impact of suicidal behaviours on probation staff, in relation to their experiences of working with probation service users who have carried out suicide, attempted suicide or self-harm. Thirteen in-depth interviews were carried out with probation staff who had direct contact with probation service users in one probation area, and had varying degrees of experience of managing suicidal or self-injurious service users. These were analysed using thematic analysis and five themes were identified. Findings indicate that staff felt that suicide and self-harm by service users are serious issues which need to be recognized and dealt with in an effective yet compassionate manner. Not attending the suicide prevention training, or lack of experience, were perceived as restricting their ability to know how to deal with these individuals, and offer support. Furthermore, staff were emotionally affected by these incidents and it is recommended that they should continue to be provided with access to appropriate support services after an incident.
Book review: What Works in Therapeutic Prisons: Evaluating Psychological Change in Dovegate Therapeutic Community
Working with people convicted of extremist offences who have either offended, or are perceived to have offended, for ideological reasons – whether supportive of a political or religious identity or for the rights of animals – presents challenges to the supervising probation officer. Despite it being impossible for a service user to prove categorically that they are no longer supportive of ideological views that advocate harmful behaviour, there can still be an expectation from offender managers, MAPPAs, Parole Boards and offenders themselves, that evaluating enduring sympathies with harmful groups forms the main part of risk and offender management. How then can service users and probation staff work productively together, without an offender manager being excessively naive or collusive, or the offender receiving supervision reliant on disproportionate, and possibly counter-productive, levels of control?
Polygraphs (or lie detectors) have been introduced into the UK for the first time despite continuing concerns about their reliability and the ways in which they will be deployed. The police are enabled to use them on a ‘voluntary’ basis and the probation service on a ‘mandatory’ basis if their use has been made a condition of post-custodial supervision. This article seeks to bring the polygraph story up to date and pose the questions that are still unanswered as the use of the polygraph begins.
June 3, 2015 by Frank, V. A., Dahl, H. V., Holm, K. E., Kolind, T.
Filed under Probation
The purpose of this article is to employ a user-perspective on prison drug treatment. Based on data from 32 in-depth qualitative interviews with inmates and three months of observational studies in three Danish prisons, the article examines how drug treatment in prison is experienced and strategically approached by enrolled inmates. The analysis shows the broad range of reasons for entering as well as staying in treatment during imprisonment, including how the prison setting influences and constrains inmates’ experiences in different ways. By employing a user-perspective the article follows the research tradition, beginning in the 1990s, of including drug users’ perspectives on treatment. It adds important information to the drug treatment literature on issues such as organization, social relations and output of drug treatment. Including a user-perspective, we were able to uncover aspects and experiences of treatment services that differ from other actors in the field, e.g. counsellors, medical doctors, nurses, politicians, and officers. A user-perspective also challenges our understanding of what is at play in drug treatment as well as treatment in prisons.