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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: The British Journal of Forensic Practice, Volume 14, Issue 3
Welcome to the latest edition of the British Journal of Forensic Practice. This issue provides a range of papers across the arena of forensic practice, focusing on the client, staff and organisational issues.
We begin this issue with a much welcomed paper by Mary McMurran and Steve Delight. They discuss the importance of incorporating practitioner’s feedback into manualised therapeutic programmes. They report on practitioner feedback for one accredited therapeutic programme, and carefully argue the importance of incorporating practitioner reflections in any therapy revisions, and by doing so, enhancing the integrity of the treatment.
Jean McQueen and Jennifer Turner follow this paper with an exploration of forensic mental health clients’ views on work. This is a very helpful qualitative piece, and which argues the critical role work can play in the promotion of recovery from mental health issues. Their paper aims to explore an under-researched area; namely the personal views of the client in respect of their engagement in work. They interviewed clients who resided in a forensic hospital, as well as those in community services, all of which were involved in either paid work, voluntary work or work preparation. Their findings illustrated that clients valued the opportunity to address vocational issues at the earliest opportunity in their rehabilitation, and that work had an overwhelmingly positive impact on their mental health. As such, their paper carefully argues the implications of providing good quality vocational rehabilitation for forensic clients.
The paper that follows moves away from the client directly, and more to the staff member engaged with individuals who have forensic histories. Neil Gredecki and Jane Ireland present a study that aims to examine the relationship between prison officers and prisoners through an exploration of an individuals interpersonal style. Of particular not in this paper is its clear reference to theory and application of such. They report that prison officers with a friendly interpersonal style were found to be positive about their perceived ability to work with all forensic clients (in this instance, prisoners), whereas the more “hostile” prison officers were more negative toward this. The more dominant prison officer was found to be positive about their perceived ability to work with more submissive forensic individuals, whilst submissive officers were not positive in their judgments about working with the more dominant prisoner. They importantly discuss their results in respect of role assignment within forensic settings and the application of interpersonal theory.
The paper that follows, by Rachel Worthington, presents research again from a prison setting, and which explored the organisational climate within such an environment, looking at the impact of work on home experiences. The results note that all staff placed emphasis on the control quadrant of the organisational climate, with their findings overall parallelling other research in relation to attitude change. This linked to a noted desire for higher integration being associated with an increased impact on work/home life, and that a desire for and achievement of segmentation does not directly impact on subjective well-being. The paper argues that employees with high identity consistency (integration) also had a more engaged experience with the prison climate, whereas employees with lower identity consistency (segmentation) were less engaged.
Lynne Millward and Sarah Senker follow this with another qualitative piece, clearly underpinning this well with grounded psychological theory. They focus on issues of autonomy, control and freedom of choice in the rehabilitation of three young offenders. This study took the helpful decision to be participant led, and encouraged participants to reflect on and make sense of their behaviour in an in-depth interview study. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis, they identified two master themes: “Dissociating from an offender identity and authoring a new non-offender, more individuated identity”, and second that of “masculinity as multifaceted”. They carefully reflect on their findings in respect of motivational theory, and note clear implications of their work.
The final paper in this issue is more of an illustrative piece by Jo Nadkarni, David Blakelock, Alok Jha, Paul Tiffin and Faye Sullivan. They explore the clinical profile of young people accessing a low secure adolescent unit, with their focus on the first NHS forensic low secure unit for adolescents. They examined the clinical profiles of young people admitted in the first 45 months. Of their sample, 25 (44 per cent) young people had a discharge diagnosis related to psychosis, the remainder having primary problems relating to emotional and/or conduct problems. 26 (47 per cent) were discharged to another hospital setting and 20 (35 per cent) returned to their home of origin. They note that young people accessing the low secure unit were significantly older at admission, and there was a trend for a higher proportion of females to be admitted to the open setting. They further argue that the low secure unit had a greater proportion of young people with psychotic disorders and longer lengths of stay. As part of their exploration, they illustrate with helpful and engaging case examples.
Carol A. Ireland, Neil Gredecki