Skip to main content

Developing rehabilitation procedures in prisons and secure settings

Professor Jane L. Ireland and the Forensic Research Group have pioneered the development of research-informed Specialist Aggression Intervention Packages (SAIP) for high-risk populations such as prisoners, secure psychiatric patients and children in secure care.

Their research demonstrates it is essential to account for the interaction between the environment and the individual. Simply focussing on the individual alone limits the effectiveness of psychological treatments or therapies. This ongoing research highlights the need and urgency of dealing with aggression in such settings, for both clients and staff, and it ensures that interventions are effectively evaluated.

The research has led to new therapeutic intervention and professional training for staff who may encounter aggressive behaviours, and this has directly benefitted patients in a variety of settings. A Crisis Negotiation Package was redeveloped which resulted in a new theoretical model of understanding security incidents such as hostage-taking, roof-top protests and barricades. It helped develop national and international policy on patient-to-patient aggression, naming bullying as a significant issue that is environmentally driven.

The impacts of the research have been recognised nationally and internationally and has been instrumental in the development of NHS service effectiveness targets in three NHS trusts. It has also informed practice in more than 25 private and public hospitals and prisons, two community Children’s Services and two police forces and practitioners in Australia.