The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on offenders with a dual diagnosis and discuss how prison-based services can improve to better meet the needs of prisoners with co-occurring substance misuse and mental health disorders.
A comprehensive literature search of PsycINFO, JSTOR, PubMed and Google Scholar, reviewing international studies on dual diagnosis amongst offender and community samples spanning the last three decades, supplemented by international policy, guidance papers and reports was conducted to explore how services can be improved.
It was found that research into dual diagnosis amongst prisoners internationally was scarce. However, from the evidence available, several consistent factors emerged that led to the following recommendations: integrated treatment needs to be coordinated and holistic, staged and gender-responsive; increased availability of “low level”, flexible interventions; transitional support and continuity of care upon release with the utilisation of peer mentors; comprehensive assessments in conducive settings; mandatory dual diagnosis training for staff; and increased funding for female/gender-responsive services.
The recommendations can inform commissioners, funders and service providers of areas where support must be improved to address the needs of prisoners with a dual diagnosis.
Improved outcomes for prisoners with a dual diagnosis would likely have a positive effect on society, with improvements in mental health and substance misuse treatment impacting on rates of reoffending.
This paper brings originality and value to the sector because it reviews relevant research on dual diagnosis and translates it into practical implications for policy makers.
Moyes, H., Heath, J. and Dean, L. (2016), "What can be done to improve outcomes for prisoners with a dual diagnosis?", Advances in Dual Diagnosis, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 14-25. https://doi.org/10.1108/ADD-07-2015-0016Download as .RIS
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