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Article
Publication date: 30 November 2012

Ashlee Curtis, Keith McVilly and Andrew Day

The purpose of this paper is to identify and evaluate treatment for adult fire setters with an intellectual disability, given the specific risks they present, the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify and evaluate treatment for adult fire setters with an intellectual disability, given the specific risks they present, the complexities of criminal proceedings associated with their behaviour, and subsequent rehabilitation. However, the review also took into account programmes for fire setters in the wider population, including those for children and adolescents, given that such research might also inform the development of programmes for offenders with an intellectual disability.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic review of the literature was undertaken.

Findings

Only four studies which evaluated treatment programmes specifically for arsonists with an intellectual disability were identified. Although each of these studies reported a reduction in fire‐setting behaviour following programme completion, all employed relatively weak research designs. An additional 12 studies investigating programmes for arsonists without intellectual disability were also identified. It is concluded that there is a lack of evidence regarding treatment programme outcomes for arsonists with an intellectual disability. The extent to which such programmes can be adapted to suit adult offenders with an intellectual disability is discussed, with recommendations made for the design and evaluation of arson treatment programmes for offenders with intellectual disabilities.

Originality/value

Currently, minimal treatments programs exist for fire setting in offenders with intellectual disability. This review highlights the importance of further research into treatment programs for this specialised population.

Details

Journal of Learning Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, vol. 3 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-0927

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Article
Publication date: 13 February 2017

Phyllis Annesley, Leonie Davison, Chris Colley, Liz Gilley and Louise Thomson

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the implementation and evaluation of interventions for women firesetters in high secure mental healthcare at the UK’s National…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the implementation and evaluation of interventions for women firesetters in high secure mental healthcare at the UK’s National Women’s Service.

Design/methodology/approach

Two types of Arson treatment programmes for women, one delivered to individuals, the other within a group context, were developed, delivered and evaluated. The evaluation incorporated qualitative and quantitative data, including psychometric measures. Qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings

The evaluation evidenced very high engagement with and attendance at treatment programmes, and several post-treatment gains. Participants’ ratings of programmes and qualitative feedback were similarly very positive. The study demonstrated that engaging women firesetters in their treatment is paramount and can be facilitated by consistent boundaries around therapy provision balanced with sensitivity, empathy and flexibility; providing interactive and varied teaching methods; ongoing service user involvement and recognising participants’ achievements; employing a mixed cognitive analytic therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy therapeutic approach; having input from fire service staff; and maintaining organisational support for firesetting interventions.

Practical implications

In all, 12 key recommendations are made for clinicians considering offering treatment programmes for women firesetters.

Originality/value

Amid few published papers on treating women firesetters this paper guides forensic clinicians in establishing and delivering interventions for women firesetters.

Details

Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8794

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Article
Publication date: 16 July 2009

Julia Kelly, Alasdair Goodwill, Nick Keene and Su Thrift

This pilot study investigated three historical risk factors for pathological arson identified in Jackson's Only Viable Option theory (Jackson, 1994), which views the act…

Abstract

This pilot study investigated three historical risk factors for pathological arson identified in Jackson's Only Viable Option theory (Jackson, 1994), which views the act as an adaptive response to circumstances that are difficult to tolerate and which the individual does not have the necessary skills to resolve by appropriate means. Twenty men with mild learning disabilities were recruited from inpatient forensic services. It was hypothesised that there would be a greater incidence of risk factors among individuals with an index offence of arson than those without, and that risk factors would significantly predict an index offence of arson. Significant differences were found between the groups for perceived inability to effect social change and childhood experiences of fire, but not for the family problems under investigation. However, the sample size was too small to draw reliable conclusions on the predictive ability of the risk factors. The findings suggest that perceived inability to effect social change and childhood experiences of fire are risk factors characteristic of men with learning disabilities who have set fires, lending support to elements of Jackson's theory and providing opportunities to develop evidence‐based practice. However, the underlying causes of these risk‐factor characteristics remain unclear. It is hoped that the present study will help inform the choice of risk factors under investigation and improve the design of a larger study.

Details

The British Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6646

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Article
Publication date: 18 October 2019

Ashlee Curtis, Keith R. McVilly, Andrew Day, William R. Lindsay, John L. Taylor and Todd E. Hogue

Fire setters who have an intellectual disability (ID) are often identified as posing a particular danger to the community although relatively little is known about their…

Abstract

Purpose

Fire setters who have an intellectual disability (ID) are often identified as posing a particular danger to the community although relatively little is known about their characteristics, treatment and support needs. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

This study describes the characteristics of 134 residents of low, medium and high security ID facilities in the UK who have either an index offence of arson, a violent index offence or a sexual index offence.

Findings

Index arson offenders who had an ID had multiple prior convictions, a history of violent offending and a high likelihood of having a comorbid mental disorder. There were many shared characteristics across the three groups.

Practical implications

The current study suggests that offenders who have ID who set fires have treatment needs that are similar to those of violent and sex offenders. It follows that fire setters who have an ID may also benefit from participating in more established offending behaviour treatment programs, such as cognitive behaviour therapy programs, developed for other types of offender.

Originality/value

This study is one of the few which has investigated the characteristics and treatment needs of persons who have an ID who set fires. In particular, it is one of the first to compare the characteristics and treatment needs for persons with ID who set fires, to those who have committed violent and sexual offences.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8824

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Article
Publication date: 3 June 2014

Ashlee Curtis, Keith McVilly and Andrew Day

Offenders with intellectual disability (ID) who commit arson and other acts of fire setting are over-represented in the criminal justice system in Australia, as in many…

Abstract

Purpose

Offenders with intellectual disability (ID) who commit arson and other acts of fire setting are over-represented in the criminal justice system in Australia, as in many other jurisdictions. The purpose of this paper is to provide insight into the judicial considerations that influence sentencing in these cases.

Design/methodology/approach

Case law was utilised to locate and analyse judges’ sentencing remarks for offenders with ID found guilty of an offence of arson. These data were subject to Inductive Content Analysis to establish the major judicial considerations in sentencing.

Findings

Seven common issues emerged: general deterrence, seriousness of arson, rehabilitation, sentencing options, moral culpability, protection of the community, and punishment. Judges noted that they handed down reduced sentences to persons with ID relative to the severity of their offending, that they considered people with ID to have low levels of moral culpability, and that these offenders did not provide good examples for community deterrence.

Originality/value

The current study highlights the need for judges to have available a range of sentencing options, including diversion and treatment/rehabilitation programmes for persons with ID, particularly for those involved in more serious offences such as arson.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8824

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Article
Publication date: 9 September 2014

Clive G. Long, Geoffrey Dickens and Olga Dolley

The purpose of this paper is to assess the antecedent behaviours and consequences of firesetting for women in a secure psychiatric setting along with treatment engagement…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the antecedent behaviours and consequences of firesetting for women in a secure psychiatric setting along with treatment engagement factors. To explore predictions made about emotionally expressive subtype firesetters by the multi-trajectory theory of adult firesetting (M-TTAF).

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 75 individual firesetting episodes involving 25 female multiple firesetters were assessed using the St Andrew's Fire and Arson Risk Instrument. Assessments were made of treatment readiness, firesetting related self-efficacy, insight and barriers to change.

Findings

Findings support the relationship between recidivist firesetting and the psychological features of psychosis, personality disorder and substance misuse. The reported association of firesetting with suicidal thoughts, depression, interpersonal problems, anger/revenge motivation and lack of planning supports the view that behaviour is used to manage distressing life experience and as a “cry for help”. However, in a quarter of incidents there was an intention to harm others and evidence of premeditation in twelve percent. A small but significant minority lacked insight into their behaviour, were not ready for treatment and had low firesetting related self-efficacy. Predictions made by the M-TTAF about likely clinical features and motivators of emotionally expressive firesetters were largely supported.

Originality/value

The study highlights the importance of a detailed and specific risk assessment of firesetting that leads to identification of individual risk factors and an individualised treatment approach. This is of particular importance given the complex problems presented by women in secure settings and by the diversity of the conditions associated with fires set by each individual.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

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Article
Publication date: 2 November 2015

Amy Tostevin and Abdul Shaikh

The purpose of this paper is to present the development and evaluation of an original training package for staff members on fire-setting in people with intellectual…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the development and evaluation of an original training package for staff members on fire-setting in people with intellectual disabilities. It also included training on functional analysis as a model of formulating the fire-setting behaviour. The quality and effectiveness of the training was assessed and is reported in this paper.

Design/methodology/approach

The training was delivered on a ward for people with intellectual disabilities in a UK NHS Trust Low Secure Hospital and was attended by various members of the multidisciplinary team for the ward. The workshop consisted of four modules: theoretical background of fire-setting, the functional analysis model of fire-setting formulation, offence-paralleling behaviours in secure settings and a case study practice. Level of self-reported understanding of the various aspects of the training was measured by an evaluation questionnaire completed pre and post training.

Findings

The results of this study showed that following the training there was a significant increase in self-reported understanding of staff members. The participants reported an increase in understanding of fire-setting, functional analysis and formulation of individuals with an intellectual disability and history of fire-setting.

Originality/value

This study highlights the potential for staff training to increase awareness of fire-setting behaviours by people with intellectual disabilities. The staff training in formulation would encourage their involvement in development of team formulations and may subsequently increase their understanding of such individuals.

Details

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, vol. 9 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-1282

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Article
Publication date: 30 November 2012

John Devapriam and Regi T. Alexander

Traditionally, services for people with learning disabilities (LD) and forensic needs are underdeveloped. This paper aims to describe the setting up of a tiered model of…

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Abstract

Purpose

Traditionally, services for people with learning disabilities (LD) and forensic needs are underdeveloped. This paper aims to describe the setting up of a tiered model of LD forensic service provision in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, facilitated and driven by a core team of professionals who have the skills and expertise in this area.

Design/methodology/approach

With no dedicated funding, this team is virtual in nature and provides support for the community and in‐patient teams in the assessment and management of offenders with LD. A care pathway including a process map is included to represent a visual idea of the referral, assessment, intervention and disposal strategies across the four tiers of service delivery. The service has a unique partnership arrangement with the independent sector that allows for staff training in order to deliver quality outcomes. The virtual team can support patients with learning disabilities and forensic needs in the community and in‐patient settings, both by avoiding unnecessary in‐patient admissions and by improving the treatment outcomes of those discharged from in‐patient settings.

Findings

Further research is required to demonstrate the clinical and social outcomes for offenders with LD using the tiered model of care and care‐pathway.

Originality/value

The virtual team and the LD forensic care pathway were developed because of a gap in service that was identified as part of a mapping exercise and stakeholder discussion. In the current economic climate, additional resources to address this gap in service may not be readily available; therefore, an innovative way of addressing this gap in service was by developing a care pathway for use by community LD teams based on lean principles and evidence‐based medicine and the pooling of specialist skills to develop the virtual team to enable and support the implementation of the care pathway.

Details

Journal of Learning Disabilities and Offending Behaviour, vol. 3 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-0927

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2007

S Hearne, K Garner, B O'Mahony, C Thomas and R Alexander

This paper describes an innovative, multi‐modular group therapy programme based on cognitive‐behavioural principles and psycho‐education. It introduces participants to…

Abstract

This paper describes an innovative, multi‐modular group therapy programme based on cognitive‐behavioural principles and psycho‐education. It introduces participants to strategies and skills to assist with deficits such as poor social skills, low self‐esteem, poor emotional regulation and problematic inter‐personal relationships. The manual‐based format of this programme enables members to be introduced to working in a group, and enables facilitators to obtain qualitative information about group members to promote existing skills in future treatment programmes. The core deficit areas targeted by the programme are not by any means exclusive to individuals in in‐patient forensic learning disability settings, so the programme can be useful for clients with learning disability and offending behaviours who are resident in the community.

Details

The British Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6646

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2006

Ernest Gralton, Victor Udu and Shan Ranasinghe

There has been a significant expansion of secure psychiatric service provision in the UK, but little discussion about the most appropriate principles on which to base…

Abstract

There has been a significant expansion of secure psychiatric service provision in the UK, but little discussion about the most appropriate principles on which to base these services. There is longstanding tension between security and treatment that can be difficult to resolve. Solution‐focused ideas may provide a bridge between these two issues, by improving multi‐disciplinary working and providing an appropriate relationship style that optimises the delivery of care to forensic patients.

Details

The British Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6646

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