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Article
Publication date: 11 December 2006

Charlie Brooker and Coral Sirdifield

Approximately 90% of prisoners experience mental health problems, substance misuse problems or both. However, prison reception screening tools are not always effective in…

Abstract

Approximately 90% of prisoners experience mental health problems, substance misuse problems or both. However, prison reception screening tools are not always effective in enabling staff to identify mentally disordered prisoners. Therefore, to ensure that these individuals get access to appropriate care, custodial staff should be trained in recognising the signs and symptoms of mental health disorders, and in effectively working with these individuals. This paper charts the pilot implementation of a mental health awareness workbook designed for use in custodial settings across England. It examines the variety of approaches adopted to implement the workbook, staff views on the usefulness of the workbook, and barriers to implementation encountered in each area. Recommendations made for best practice in delivering the workbook in other areas suggest a need for changes to its format, but also that time should be ring‐fenced for staff to participate in this training, in groups led by experts such as in‐reach team members.

Details

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, vol. 1 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-6228

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 March 2014

Stephanie Ellen Perrett, Mark Erricker and Marion Lyons

The purpose of this paper is to provide education on blood-borne viruses (BBVs) to prison staff to help reduce stigma within the prisons, improve the care prisoners…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide education on blood-borne viruses (BBVs) to prison staff to help reduce stigma within the prisons, improve the care prisoners receive and reduce the risk of occupational transmission.

Design/methodology/approach

An e-module was used to improve staff understanding of hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV at a prison in Wales, UK. An assessment was used to gather data on prison staff understanding of BBVs prior to undertaking the e-module.

Findings

In total, 530/697 (76 per cent) prison staff completed the BBV e-module. Average pre- and post-course assessment scores were 8.6/11 and 10.85/11, respectively. Most staff understood the modes of hepatitis transmission, however, gaps in understanding were highlighted. In total, 22 per cent of staff believed HBV and HCV were airborne, 9 per cent believed transmission occurred through sharing cutlery. In total, 31 per cent of staff believed prisoners with hepatitis should declare their status to the prison.

Practical implications

The e-module significantly improved staff understanding of BBVs and should be incorporated into future prison training packages. Future education should include how BBVs are not transmitted with an emphasis on casual contact. Medical confidentiality in prisons should also be addressed. Improving understanding will help reduce the stigma of BBVs within prison and improve the multidisciplinary care the prisoner receives.

Originality/value

To the authors knowledge this is the first published evaluation of a BBV learning package for custodial staff. Evaluation of this educational package demonstrates a unique and valuable insight into the general understanding of BBVs by prison staff in Wales, UK.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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: 1 March 2006

Morag MacDonald

Research has shown that a key issue for prisoners using healthcare services during their sentence is that of patient confidentiality. Maintaining prisoners’ medical…

109

Abstract

Research has shown that a key issue for prisoners using healthcare services during their sentence is that of patient confidentiality. Maintaining prisoners’ medical confidentiality has been shown to be difficult in the prison setting as many treatments, especially those considered to be out of the ordinary, are more likely to result in a breach of medical confidence. This can include treating infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis or tuberculosis, which can often include long term and regular contact with healthcare staff, and which, in some cases, may require referrals to specialists outside the prison setting. In addition, institutional factors unique to prisons may impact on healthcare staffs’ ability to maintain prisoners’ confidentiality, such as security or health and safety concerns. Drawing on research carried out by the author on healthcare and people with problematic drug use in prisons in a range of European countries, this paper considers the factors that impact on maintaining prisoners’ medical confidentiality and some of the attempts to address this issue.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 2005

Odd Lindberg

Women represent approximately 6% of the prison population of Sweden (total ‐ 5000). This article presents a study of female inmates in the closed prison for women…

Abstract

Women represent approximately 6% of the prison population of Sweden (total ‐ 5000). This article presents a study of female inmates in the closed prison for women, Hinseberg, in Sweden. The study examines the inmates and staff culture on the basis of concepts such as interaction rituals, status, role conflicts and social representations. The methodology included questionnaires to all inmates, qualitative interviews with inmates and staff and observation within the prison. Among the findings, it was clear that some inmates have a higher status than others, which is linked to the type of crime committed, years of imprisonment, previous imprisonment, relations to male gang members, and charisma. So‐called ‘Queens’ rule the wings and maintain the inmates’ codes. Examples of these codes are: do not associate with the staff, do not talk too long with staff, do not be an informer, do not seek treatment programmes, and do not trust anybody. Those who challenge the codes are seen as an informer or traitor, and the culture in the prison was found to be oppressive towards women who want to seek treatment and support from staff. The study also shows that there are similarities in the staff and the inmates’ cultures. Experienced prison officers often have a significant impact on the staff culture, and among staff there are informal codes, i.e. that you should not be ‘too close’ to the inmates and do not trust the inmates. This leads to an objectifying and distancing approach in relation to the inmates. In both cultures stereotypical social representations of ‘the other’ is created, which have a negative impact on the possibilities for working with rehabilitation.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 1 no. 2/3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 October 2020

Claire Powell, Karen Ciclitira and Lisa Marzano

Imprisoned mothers are at increased risk for poor psychological health and psychological distress when separated from their children, so staff need to be highly skilled to…

Abstract

Purpose

Imprisoned mothers are at increased risk for poor psychological health and psychological distress when separated from their children, so staff need to be highly skilled to support the women. However, there is a paucity of research focusing on staff experiences around sensitive issues such as mother–child separation. This study aims to understand the challenges faced by staff and how these might be addressed.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative interview study explored the views and experiences of 24 prison-based staff in England working with female prisoners separated from their infants.

Findings

Staff emphasised the challenges of working with separated mothers, specifically the emotional impact of this work, and the impact of the wider criminal justice system on their sense of agency.

Originality/value

A focus on the experience of separation highlights the broader problem of incarcerating women in general. Reducing the number of mother–child separations would mitigate the impact on both women and staff.

Details

Journal of Criminal Psychology, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2009-3829

Keywords

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: 17 August 2011

Rachael Dixey and James Woodall

This paper aims to discuss some of the obstacles to implementing policy and strategy related to health promoting prisons. It focuses on the role of prison officers and…

774

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to discuss some of the obstacles to implementing policy and strategy related to health promoting prisons. It focuses on the role of prison officers and raises issues concerning their conditions of service, training and organisational culture in a situation where the prison system faces security issues, overcrowding and high levels of ill health among prisoners.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper emerged as a result of significant overlapping themes between two separate studies conducted by the authors. The paper draws on the authors' qualitative data from these studies.

Findings

The findings demonstrate the ambiguities and tensions in changing organisational cultures and among prison staff. Alongside the qualitative data, the paper draws on theory regarding policy implementation at the micro‐level to show how staff can block or speed up that implementation.

Practical implications

Prison officers are an essential part of health promoting prisons, but have been relatively ignored in the discussion of how to create healthier prisons.

Originality/value

The contribution that prison staff make to creating health promoting prisons has been under‐explored, yet pertinent theory can show how they can be more effectively involved in making changes in organisational culture.

Abstract

Details

Young Women's Carceral Geographies: Abandonment, Trouble and Mobility
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-050-9

Article
Publication date: 22 June 2021

Sophie Dennard, Derek K. Tracy, Aaron Beeney, Laura Craster, Fiona Bailey, Anisah Baureek, Michael Barton, Jeanette Turrell, Sarah Poynton, Vafo Navkarov and Radha Kothari

Prisons are uniquely challenging working environments. Staff are often exposed to direct and indirect trauma, impacting negatively on their mental well-being. Due to the…

Abstract

Purpose

Prisons are uniquely challenging working environments. Staff are often exposed to direct and indirect trauma, impacting negatively on their mental well-being. Due to the limited research into prison staff experience, this paper aims to explore what staff find most challenging, how they cope, what support they would like and rewarding aspects of their work.

Design/methodology/approach

This service development project was facilitated through a staff well-being event. A qualitative approach was used and 74 staff members provided anonymised responses. An inductive and data-driven approach was used to analyse the data, and the trustworthiness of the analysis was considered using criteria established by Lincoln and Guba (1985).

Findings

Thematic analysis identified six themes, namely, the challenging nature of the work, interactions with prisoners, staff interactions, inadequate resources, staff support and development and coping strategies. Key findings include managing distress, self-harm and violence and limited resources presenting challenges. Role variety and opportunities to support prisoners were reported as positive. A variety of coping strategies were identified. Wider availability of supervision and reflective practice was suggested by staff.

Practical implications

Recommendations for increased staff support are made. Suggestions for future research investigating methods to increase rewarding aspects of work within prisons are given.

Originality/value

This analysis adds to the limited body of qualitative research investigating prison staff experiences; in particular, aspects of the work that they find rewarding such as the role variety and opportunities to make positive changes to prisoners’ lives. Novel coping strategies were identified, including cognitive reframing and behavioural strategies for managing stress, which could be encouraged to increase resilience.

Details

The Journal of Forensic Practice, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-8794

Keywords

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