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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited
Welcome to the current issue of the Journal of Forensic Practice that presents seven papers that collectively reflect the varied nature of forensic practice internationally. The issue starts with an invited paper “Capturing the scene: efficacy test of the re-enactment investigative instruction”, by Launay and Py in the field of eyewitness testimony. This research paper tests the “re-enactment investigative instruction”, with the authors reporting that in their sample the re-enactment interview elicited more correct information than a semi-structured interview. As such, they suggest that this form of interview shows the potential to increase witness recall of both additional correct information and investigative-relevant information. The findings have practical implications in the field of eyewitness testimony and criminal investigation.
The next paper by Challinor and Duff examines sexual offending hierarchies constructed by the general public and forensic staff based on person attitudes and perceptions of the severity of the offence. What follows are three papers linked to the field of forensic mental health. The first, by Craven and Tonkin, compares learning-disabled (LD) and non-LD offenders in terms of their relating styles, as well as examining the relationship between relating styles and offence types. In their sample, the authors report that cognitive functioning is associated with higher levels of interpersonal deficit, with there being increased treatment needs for an LD offender population, and different treatment needs amongst LD and non-LD offenders. As such, they call for more research to examine the needs of lower functioning offenders in order to inform LD-specific interventions.
Given the clinical importance of understanding co-morbidity in offender populations, Bennett and Johnson examine the prevalence of comorbidities of Axis I and II disorders in a sample of high-risk male prisoners. Their findings suggest that certain Axis II disorders may increase the risk of lifetime Axis I disorders. Next, Das and colleagues investigate the extent and severity of substance misuse and corresponding treatment needs in patients with a primary diagnosis of personality disorder in comparison with mental illness in a high secure hospital. The findings substantiate existing evidence that substance misuse contributes to mental health problems and criminogenic behaviour, as well as outlining new findings in regards to the relationship of substance misuse to offending in schizophrenia and personality disorder in the given population.
This issue ends with two review papers. The first by Das and colleagues is a systematic review of work-related stress in forensic mental health professionals. The review concludes that forensic mental health workers, as a population, are at risk of stress and burnout; although there is insufficient evidence to establish whether or not they suffer from higher levels of stress than their non-forensic colleagues. The final paper is a short discussion paper by Birch and colleagues examining the portrayal of homophobic and non-homophobic aggression in print media. Utilising an integrated grounded behavioural linguistic inquiry approach, the paper illustrates differences in the themes contained in reports of homophobic aggression when compared to the reports of non-homophobic aggression.