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1 – 10 of over 2000
Article
Publication date: 28 June 2019

Louise Griffiths, Di Bailey and Karen Slade

Peer and professional support are important for women in prison to help them tackle a range of issues including self-harm. To date, research has not explored in any depth…

Abstract

Purpose

Peer and professional support are important for women in prison to help them tackle a range of issues including self-harm. To date, research has not explored in any depth how women experience peer support provided in prison to help them manage their self-harm including peer support provided through the Listeners Scheme. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

This was a case study in one women’s prison employing mixed, qualitative methods. These included a questionnaire distributed to women and staff, a focus group with prison listeners, semi-structured interviews with women who self-harmed and semi-structured interviews with prison staff, together with a series of observations in the prison site.

Findings

While women in prison welcomed both professional and peer support their support preferences were influenced by how serious women considered their self-harm to be and the degree to which they regarded their relationships with staff as trusting and/or supportive. The therapeutic community (TC) that operated in the prison facilitated different relationships between women who self-harmed in prison and staff, than have hitherto been reported in the research literature. These relationships described by women and staff as “more open” allowed women to seek staff support when managing their self-harm behaviours. Women sought peer support from listeners in addition to staff support particularly at times when staff were unavailable for example at evenings and weekends.

Research limitations/implications

The case study design was conducted in one women’s prison which operated a TC. The principles of the TC that operated in the prison are supported by the wider literature on TCs as conducive to good mental health. Findings are thus relevant for establishments with TCs .

Originality/value

Women opted for support from staff for helping them to manage their severe self-harm, over and above the peer support available through the prison Listener Scheme. This finding contrasts with previous research that suggests women trying to manage their self-harm in prison prioritise support from their peers because staff are often found to harbour unhelpful attitudes to women’s self-harm that makes seeking support difficult.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 September 2015

Louise Griffiths and Di Bailey

The purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate the current evidence for peer support in prisons, in particular its contribution to working with prisoners who…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate the current evidence for peer support in prisons, in particular its contribution to working with prisoners who self-injure and the extent to which the success of peer support schemes such as the prison listeners, hinges upon staff’s willingness to engage with the initiative.

Design/methodology/approach

The review was constructed by using primary and secondary terms to search the literature. The studies focused on peer support in custody with reference to mental health and self-injury. Searches identified papers on the prison listener scheme and staff perspectives on prison peer support, as these formed a central focus of the review. Studies were excluded from the review if the participants’ behaviours was explicitly linked to suicidal intent, as the review focused on self-injury as a coping strategy.

Findings

A total of 23 studies were selected according to specific inclusion criteria (six were grey literature, 17 academic literature). Of the 23 studies ten studies focused on peer support and self-injury. Of the 23 studies the listener scheme was the focus of 15 studies, of these 15 studies self-injury and the listener scheme was a focus of eight studies.

Originality/value

Evidence from the review suggests that prison peer support could be considered on a continuum depending on the different degrees of peer involvement.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 November 2020

Louise Griffiths, Di Bailey and Karen Slade

Without exception, research on the contribution of the Prison Listener Scheme as a form of peer support for those who self-harm in custody has focussed on men in prison

Abstract

Purpose

Without exception, research on the contribution of the Prison Listener Scheme as a form of peer support for those who self-harm in custody has focussed on men in prison. Women’s experience of custody is shaped by their experiences of hegemonic masculinity that also mediate through women’s roles as mothers and caregivers. Women’s self-harm is similarly influenced by these gendered experiences. The purpose of this paper is to explore how the Listener Scheme as a form of peer-to-peer support for women contributes to women managing their self-harm in a female prison.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper used a case study design with a mixed-methods approach using a quantitative questionnaire with prison staff (n = 65) and women in custody who had self-harmed (n = 30). Qualitative methods included a focus group with Prison Listeners (n10) and semi-structured interviews with women who self-harm (n10) and prison staff (n10). Four days were also spent observing the prison environment.

Findings

Findings suggest that women seek support from other women as peer Listeners for three main reasons; their previous difficult experiences with men, a displacement of the mother role and their attachment needs in custody. Research suggests that women often have significant addictions and mental health concerns and are more likely than their male counterparts to engage in self-harm (Prison Reform Trust, 2017). In addition, women’s self-harm acts as a coping method for “intrapersonal issues” which documents self-harm as a result of frustration and lack of control in custody as opposed to “interpersonal issues” which documents self-harm as a result of relationship difficulties with partners (Walker et al., 2017). This paper suggests that peer support schemes internationally should be tailored to providing support for these types of gendered experience to support women who self-harm in custody. This has implications for the training and support of Listeners in women’s prisons.

Research limitations/implications

This exploratory research was conducted in one female prison and while can be considered to test proof of concept is limited in its generalisability.

Originality/value

This paper suggests that Listeners providing peer-to-peer support for women in custody who self-harm may encounter triggers for this behaviour based on women’s experiences including; how women relate to men; women’s experience of the way custody displaces their role as mothers and women’s need for safe attachments in custody. These gendered experiences have implications for the training and development of peer support schemes in women’s prisons, such as the Listener scheme. Further research is needed to compare the gendered types of support Prison Listeners provide depending on whether they are in male or female prisons.

Details

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, vol. 15 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-6228

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 April 2018

Christian Perrin, Andrew Frost and Jayson Barry Ware

In the quest to maximize treatment gains, recent research has shifted focus from treatment itself to the context in which treatment takes place. Such investigations have…

Abstract

Purpose

In the quest to maximize treatment gains, recent research has shifted focus from treatment itself to the context in which treatment takes place. Such investigations have alluded to rehabilitative climate, therapeutic alliance, prison social climate, and the efficacy of group process. The purpose of this paper is to review peer-support as a mechanism via which these goals might be reached.

Design/methodology/approach

A review of the literature on peer-support in carceral settings was undertaken in February 2017.

Findings

While there is very little research exploring peer-support in the context of offender rehabilitation, there are some promising signs from many qualitative investigations that peer-led roles can bridge many gaps in support within the therapeutic context.

Research limitations/implications

More research on the potential negative impact of peer-support in carceral setting is needed.

Practical implications

This paper proposes that the implementation of peer-support programs that operate alongside treatment interventions represent an encouraging direction for the future. It is argued that prisoner-led peer-support initiatives that are characterized by shared problem solving and reciprocal emotional support can greatly reduce the anxiety prisoners face surrounding treatment. It is suggested that, through peer-support, treatment gains may be enhanced and better assimilated into program-completers’ lives.

Social implications

Peer-support may assist current treatment approaches with sexual offenders and could therefore potentially contribute to reductions in recidivism.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to review peer-support in the context of imprisonment and offender therapy. It therefore provides an important status update for future researchers wishing to investigate this topic, and outlines several priorities that such research might interrogate further.

Details

Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, vol. 39 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-1866

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 October 2017

Kara Danks and Alexandria Bradley

The purpose of this paper is to explore the perspectives of prisoners and prison staff in relation to mental wellbeing and the negotiation of barriers to accessing and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the perspectives of prisoners and prison staff in relation to mental wellbeing and the negotiation of barriers to accessing and providing support. This small-scale study includes the experiences of 11 prison staff and 9 prisoners within a Category D male prison.

Design/methodology/approach

A focus group was conducted with the prisoners and interviews with prison staff. Thematic analysis identified three core themes: “context enabling factors”, “barriers to accessing support for mental wellbeing” and “peer support roles”.

Findings

Prisoners conveyed a reluctance in reporting mental health issues due to the fear of being transferred to closed conditions. All staff indicated the benefits of peer support roles.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is required on a wider scale, as it is acknowledged that the findings of this study are from one prison and may not apply to other settings. Although there are barriers that may impact the reporting of mental wellbeing issues, there may be small relational steps that can be taken to address these.

Originality/value

Few studies exist that explore the nuances and barriers within open prisons, perhaps due to the overwhelming need within closed conditions. A context-specific approach considering early prevention strategies to support a safer prison system and successful rehabilitation is explored. The combination of prisoner and staff experiences is of value to both academia and policymakers.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 2 February 2022

Gill Thomson, Rose Mortimer, Michelle Baybutt and Karen Whittaker

This paper reports on insights from an evaluation of Birth Companions (BC) (a UK-based charity) perinatal support in two prison settings in England. The initiative…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper reports on insights from an evaluation of Birth Companions (BC) (a UK-based charity) perinatal support in two prison settings in England. The initiative involved the provision of group and/or one-to-one perinatal support and training women prisoners as peer supporters.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed-methods study was undertaken that involved observations of support groups and peer support supervision sessions (n = 9); audio recorded interviews (n = 33) with prison and health-care staff, women in prison, peer supporters and BC staff; analysis of existing routinely collected data by BC and notes undertaken during regular meetings (n = 10) with the BC Project Manager. Thematic analysis was undertaken supported by MAXQDA qualitative data analysis software.

Findings

BC provided instrumental/practical support, emotional support, information support, signposting to services and advocating for women to the prison concerning their perinatal needs and rights. Key themes revealed that support had an impact on the lives of perinatal women by creating a safe place characterised by meaningful interactions and women-centred approaches that facilitated access to wider care and support. The service made a difference by empowering women and providing added value for peer supporters, prison, health-care and BC staff. Key enablers and strategies for the care of perinatal women and the delivery of perinatal support are also detailed.

Originality/value

Through longitudinal data and the involvement of a range of stakeholders, this study evidences the subtleties of support provided by BC and the potential it has to make a difference to perinatal women in prison and those volunteering or working within the prison system.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 August 2019

Chyrell Bellamy, James Kimmel, Mark N. Costa, Jack Tsai, Larry Nulton, Elissa Nulton, Alexandra Kimmel, Nathan J. Aguilar, Ashley Clayton and Maria O’Connell

The purpose of this paper is to gain understanding about the effectiveness of a forensic peer support program’s impact on reducing criminal recidivism. People with…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to gain understanding about the effectiveness of a forensic peer support program’s impact on reducing criminal recidivism. People with histories of mental illness returning to the community following incarceration face tremendous challenges in jails and prisons and in successful reentry to community. Transitioning from jails and prisons is fraught with additional challenges such as reconnecting or connecting with mental health and substance abuse treatment, finding adequate housing, finding employment, reuniting with family and friends, etc. Unfortunately, recidivism remains high, principally because of these challenges. Many state and local authorities have supported the development of the forensic peer specialist.

Design/methodology/approach

Kaplan–Meier survival analyses were conducted to examine time to re-incarceration.

Findings

The population served was determined to be a particularly high risk of re-incarceration population, when released from prison. All had a mental illness diagnosis, with 80 percent diagnosed with at least one serious mental illness, and more than 50 percent had three or more anterior incarcerations. Utilizing Kaplan–Meyer survival analysis, the chance of re-incarceration for participants after one year was of 21.7 percent. Surprisingly, in the first year after release from prison, participants did much better than those in the general US prison population when in terms of re-incarceration rates (21.7 percent vs 43.4 percent).

Originality/value

While preliminary findings of this approach, this study reaffirms the idea that forensic peer support programs are beneficial in reducing recidivism rates for people diagnosed with a mental illness coming out of prison, offering individuals supports to maintain their lives in the community.

Details

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5729

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 September 2019

Stephanie E. Perrett, Benjamin J. Gray, L. G., D. E. and Neville J. Brooks

Those in prison have expert knowledge of issues affecting their health and wellbeing. The purpose of this paper is to report on work undertaken with male prisoners. This…

Abstract

Purpose

Those in prison have expert knowledge of issues affecting their health and wellbeing. The purpose of this paper is to report on work undertaken with male prisoners. This paper presents learning and findings from the process of engaging imprisoned men as peer researchers.

Design/methodology/approach

The peer researcher approach offers an emic perspective to understand the experience of being in prison. The authors established the peer research role as an educational initiative at a long-stay prison in Wales, UK to determine the feasibility of engaging imprisoned men as peer researchers. Focus groups, interviews and questionnaires were used by the peer researchers to identify the health and wellbeing concerns of men in prison.

Findings

The project positively demonstrated the feasibility of engaging imprisoned men as peer researchers. Four recurring themes affecting health and wellbeing for men in a prison vulnerable persons unit were identified: communication, safety, respect and emotional needs. Themes were inextricably linked demonstrating the complex relationships between prison and health.

Originality/value

This was the first prison peer-research project to take place in Wales, UK. It demonstrates the value men in prison can play in developing the evidence base around health and wellbeing in prison, contributing to changes within the prison to improve health and wellbeing for all.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 16 September 2020

Lorna Brookes

The chapter centres on a practitioners' experience of supporting children affected by maternal imprisonment for over a decade in Liverpool, Merseyside in the United…

Abstract

The chapter centres on a practitioners' experience of supporting children affected by maternal imprisonment for over a decade in Liverpool, Merseyside in the United Kingdom.

Using the data derived from my PhD ‘Bubbles, Brick Walls and Connectivity’, I offer ‘whole families’ experiences of support systems including their experience of statutory services, nonstatutory services, family and friends and ‘Good Practice’ suggestions are proffered.

Consideration is given to what support can look like, the successes and the challenges. Attention is paid to how to help children who have contact with their mothers and how this help might differ to children for whom contact has been severed.

The chapter also focusses on supporting children and families post release and the challenges of engaging the mother in the service. Stories which highlight how the mother/child relationship can become fragmented/disrupted, either prior to or owing to imprisonment, are shared.

Details

Mothering from the Inside
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-344-0

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 2009

R. Elwood Martin, K. Murphy, D. Hanson, C. Hemingway, V Ramsden, J Buxton, A. Granger‐Brown, L‐L. Condello, M. Buchanan, N. Espinoza‐Magana, G. Edworthy and T. G. Hislop

This paper describes the development of a unique prison participatory research project, in which incarcerated women formed a research team, the research activities and the…

Abstract

This paper describes the development of a unique prison participatory research project, in which incarcerated women formed a research team, the research activities and the lessons learned. The participatory action research project was conducted in the main short sentence minimum/medium security women’s prison located in a Western Canadian province. An ethnographic multi‐method approach was used for data collection and analysis. Quantitative data was collected by surveys and analysed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data was collected from orientation package entries, audio recordings, and written archives of research team discussions, forums and debriefings, and presentations. These data and ethnographic observations were transcribed and analysed using iterative and interpretative qualitative methods and NVivo 7 software. Up to 15 women worked each day as prison research team members; a total of 190 women participated at some time in the project between November 2005 and August 2007. Incarcerated women peer researchers developed the research processes including opportunities for them to develop leadership and technical skills. Through these processes, including data collection and analysis, nine health goals emerged. Lessons learned from the research processes were confirmed by the common themes that emerged from thematic analysis of the research activity data. Incarceration provides a unique opportunity for engagement of women as expert partners alongside academic researchers and primary care workers in participatory research processes to improve their health.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

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