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 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 are now five open prisons with OPD services, known as Pathways Enhanced Resettlement Service (PERS). 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 aim of the PhD project is to undertake a mixed-method evaluation across all OPD pathway open prison services. The research question: “Do open prison PERS reduce failures for offenders on the OPD pathway and what factors are involved with the successful progression through PERS?” will be answered from a series of quantitative and qualitative studies, culminating in an emergent causal model. The results of the project will impact service delivery, as well as develop knowledge of causal factors associated with successful transition into the community for high risk offenders.