Evaluating effectiveness of open prison services within the OPD pathway. What drives success and failure in open prison services for high risk offenders?
Estimates suggest between 4.4 and 13 percent of the general population could meet the criteria for any personality disorder diagnosis (Coid, 2003). Within the criminal justice system, personality disorder is overrepresented with estimates suggesting 65% of male prisoners meet the criteria (Fazel & Danesh, 2002). Research has shown that treatment and intervention with this population is possible but research in the area is generally methodologically poor (Warren et al., 2003).The Offender Personality Disorder Pathway (OPD Pathway) is a joint initiative between the UK Ministry of Justice and NHS England to provide psychologically informed services across the criminal justice system for high risk offenders who are likely to have a diagnosis of personality disorder (Joseph & Benefield, 2012). There is currently only one OPD service in an open prison (male). The service, known as Pathways Enhanced Resettlement Service (PERS), has a focus on high risk offenders who have a high likelihood of either reoffending or being returned to a secure prison environment. The OPD Pathway has now been successful in obtaining funding for PERS in an additional three open prison sites.The aim of the PhD project is to undertake a mixed-method evaluation across all four OPD pathway open prison services. The research will aim to answer the overarching question; how effective are open prison (male) OPD services and for which offenders?There is a general lack of research into open prison settings, especially related to how offenders with personality disorder face this adjustment. This research will have a significant impact on the understanding of OPD services in open (male) prisons and the causal factors involved with successful transitions to the community. This knowledge will subsequently impact the psychological wellbeing of offenders with personality disorder being released back into the community, as well as increased protection to the public.