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Mental Health and Criminal Justice

The Mental Health and Criminal Justice Group of the Criminal Justice Partnership offers cross-disciplinary excellence in relation to research and knowledge around mental health and criminal justice.


The mental health theme examines key issues related to mental health and the criminal justice system. We are particularly interested in matters of diversity, the interface between services, prevention and risk, and interventions to ensure the streamlining and inclusivity of services for vulnerable people.

Public health and the needs of persons with mental illness within the criminal justice system is also a key priority for us. Partnership working is central to our group and we are keen to foster links with agencies, organisations and users of services and their families for whom criminal justice is important.

Our work is cross-disciplinary and the Group consists of academics from Policing, Nursing, Community Health, Art Design and Fashion, Law, Management, Psychology, Criminology, and Social Work.

Professor Mick Mckeown is Lead for Mental Health and Criminal Justice Group. Mick is Reader in Democratic Mental Health in the School of Nursing. He has consistently supported public engagement initiatives and helped found the Comensus service user and carer involvement initiative at the university. This has involved a significant amount of inter-disciplinary scholarship and alliance building, community engagement, and support for user groups.

  • Mental Health
  • Well being
  • Restraint
  • Health settings
  • Horticulture in prisons
  • Mental health and policing

The Mental Health and Criminal Justice Group takes a ‘real world’ approach to research.

We have a large number of researchers doing ‘real’ world projects, closely connected to those working in the criminal justice and health sectors and the community.

We recognise the need for a responsive, timely, tailored approach to find solutions that are evidence based.

We publish high quality research in peer-reviewed international academic journals. Examples include:

McKeown, M., Thomson, G., Scholes, A., Duxbury, J., et al. (2019) Restraint minimisation in mental health care: legitimate or illegitimate force? An ethnographic study. Sociology of Health & Illness. October 2019.

McKeown, M., Duxbury, J., Thomson, G., Scholes, A., et al. (2019) Staff experiences and understandings of the REsTRAIN Yourself initiative to minimise the use of physical restraint on mental health wards. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. 28(4) March 2019.

Mckeown, M., and Wainwright, J.P. (2019) Echoes of Frantz Fanon in the place and space of an alternative black mental health centre. Critical and Radical Social Work. ISSN 2049-8608

McKeown, M., Duxbury, J., Baker, J., Whittington, R., et al. Minimising the use of physical restraint in acute mental health services: The outcome of a restraint reduction programme (‘REsTRAIN YOURSELF’) International Journal of Nursing Studies 95. March 2019.

Cusack, P., Cusack, F. P., McAndrew, S., McKeown, M., & Duxbury, J. (2018) An integrative review exploring the physical and psychological harm inherent in using restraint in mental health inpatient settings. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 27, 1162-1176.

McKeown, M., McElroy, E., McIntyre, J. C., Bentall, R. P. et al. (2018) Mental health, deprivation, and the neighbourhood social environment: a network analysis. Clinical Psychological Science. November 2018.

McKeown, M. (2018) Mental health workforce and survivor alliances: a personal story of possibilities, perils and pratfalls. In: Bull, P., Gadsby, J., & Williams, S. (eds) Critical mental health nursing: observations from the inside. Ross-On-Wye: PCCS Books. Pp.177-188.

Cusack, P., Cusack, F., McAndrew, S., McKeown, M. & Duxbury, J. (2018) An integrative review exploring the physical and psychological harm inherent in using restraint in mental health in-patient settings. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, DOI: 10.1111/inm.12432

Spandler, H. & McKeown, M. (2017) Exploring the case for truth and reconciliation in mental health. Mental Health Review Journal, 22, 2, 83-94.

Gire, N., Farooq, S., Naeem, F., Duxbury, J., McKeown, M., Kundi, P.S., Chaudhry, I.B. and Husain, N., 2017. mHealth based interventions for the assessment and treatment of psychotic disorders: a systematic review. mHealth, 3, 33.

Saini, P., Chantler, K., & Kapur, N. (2017). GPs’ views and perspectives on patient non-adherence to treatment in primary care prior to suicide. Journal of Mental Health, 1-8.

Baybutt, M., & Chemlal, K. (2016). Health-promoting prisons: Theory to practice. Global Health Promotion, 23(1), 66-74.

Husain, N., Gire, N., Kelly, J., Duxbury, J., McKeown, M., Riley, M., Farooq, S. (2016). TechCare: Mobile assessment and therapy for psychosis–an intervention for clients in the early intervention service: A feasibility study protocol. SAGE Open Medicine, 4.

McKeown, M., Jones, F., Foy, P., Wright, K., Paxton, T. & Blackmon, M. (2016) Looking back, looking forward: recovery journeys in a high secure hospital. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 25, 234-242.

McKeown, M., Jones, F., Wright, K., Spandler, H., Wright, J., Fletcher, H., Turton, W. (2016). It's the talk: A study of involvement initiatives in secure mental health settings. Health Expectations, 19(3), 570-579.

Saini, P., Chantler, K., While, D., & Kapur, N. (2016). Do GPs want or need formal support following a patient suicide?: A mixed methods study. Family Practice, 33(4), 414-420.

Dixey, R., Nyambe, S., Foster, S., Woodall, J., & Baybutt, M. (2015). Health promoting prisons–An impossibility for women prisoners in Africa? Agenda, 29(4), 95-102.

McKeown, M. & White, J. (2015) The future of mental health nursing: are we barking up the wrong tree? Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 22, 724-730.

McKeown, M., Roy, A. & Spandler, H. (2015) ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’: supportive social relations in a football and mental health project. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 24, 360-369.

Ramdour, S., Duxbury, J., Becket, G., & Wilson, S. (2015). A cross‐sectional observational study of healthcare professional views of factors affecting teenage adherence with antipsychotic medication. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 22(7), 491-501.

Newbigging, K., Ridley, J., McKeown, M. et al (2014) “When you haven’t got much of a voice”: An evaluation of the quality of Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) Services in England. Health & Social Care in the Community, 23, 313-324.

McKeown, M., Jones, F., Wright, K. et al. (2014) It’s the talk: a study of involvement practices in secure mental health services. Health Expectations, 19, 570-579

McKeown, M., Dix, J., Jones, F., Malihi-Shoja, L., Carter, B., & Harrison, N. (2014) Service user involvement in mental health practitioner education: movement politics and transformative change. Nurse Education Today (Special Issue), 34, 1175–1178.

McKeown, M. et al. (2014) A conflict of roles, a conflict of ideas? The unsettled relations between care team staff and independent mental health advocates. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 23, 398-408.

Spandler, H., Mckeown, M. & Roy, A. (2014) Using football metaphor to engage men in therapeutic support. Journal of Social Work Practice, 28, 229-245.

Saini, P., While, D., Chantler, K., Windfuhr, K., & Kapur, N. (2014). Assessment and management of suicide risk in primary care. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 35(6), 415.

Duxbury, J., Pulsford, D., Hadi, M., & Sykes, S. (2013). Staff and relatives' perspectives on the aggressive behaviour of older people with dementia in residential care: A qualitative study. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 20(9), 792-800.

Hunter, C., Chantler, K., Kapur, N., & Cooper, J. (2013). Service user perspectives on psychosocial assessment following self-harm and its impact on further help-seeking: A qualitative study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 145(3), 315-323.

Pulsford, D., Crumpton, A., Baker, A., Wilkins, T., Wright, K., & Duxbury, J. (2013). Aggression in a high secure hospital: Staff and patient attitudes. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 20(4), 296-304.

Spandler, H., Mckeown, M. Roy, A. & Hurley, M. (2013) Football metaphor and mental wellbeing: an evaluation of the It’s a Goal! programme. Journal of Mental Health, 22, 544-554.

Spandler, H. & McKeown, M. (2012) A critical exploration of using football in health and welfare programs: Gender, masculinities and social relations. Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 36: 387-409.

Eadie, D., MacAskill, S., McKell, J., & Baybutt, M. (2012). Barriers and facilitators to a criminal justice tobacco control coordinator: An innovative approach to supporting smoking cessation among offenders. Addiction, 107(S2), 26-38.

McKeown, M., Malihi-shoja, L., Hogarth, R., Jones, F., Holt, K., Sullivan, P., Lunt, J., Vella, J., Hough, G., Rawcliffe, L., Mather, M. & The CIT. (2012) The value of involvement from the participants’ perspective: not just a cash nexus. Nurse Education Today: special issue on service user & carer involvement, 32, 178-184

  • Criminal justice organisations to work with UCLan to address challenges facing sector
  • In March 2017 we were pleased to have Dr. Anthony O’Brien lecturer in mental health nursing at the University of Auckland, New Zealand and a nurse specialist in liaison psychiatry, come to visit the Partnership. As part of Dr. O’Brien’s visit, UCLan hosted ‘An Audience with Tony O’Brien’, in which Professor Tim Thornton lead a conversation with Dr. O'Brien on his research and academic experiences. Additionally, a full day conference was held at Westleigh Conference Centre and centred on ‘Rethinking the Criminal Justice System and Mental Health’. This was a very popular event and included presentations from Dr. O’Brien, Professor Duxbury (UCLan), Inspector Michael Brown (College of Policing) and Sarah Swindley (CEO Lancashire Women’s Centre). The event was designed to promote ideas and relationships for better services for people with mental health problems and safety outcomes within the Criminal Justice System.

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