The intentions of this blog post are threefold: 1.) To introduce the IMH’s new Centre for Health & Justice; 2.) To overview the Centre for Health & Justice’s creation and its objectives; 3.) To seek bloggers’ development suggestions in relation to the Centre for Health & Justice’s goals.
In preceding years, the question of how best to deliver healthcare in both the justice environment and in secure healthcare settings (alongside considering the balance of investment between these two sectors) has been a topic of policy and service delivery debate. The new Centre for Health & Justice at the IMH aims to research and examine these issues further.
The Centre for Health & Justice intends to review how healthcare is fashioned (i.e. commissioned, provided, managed, and practised) across aspects of the UK’s Criminal Justice System. Recently, there have been a number of policy initiatives that have redrawn boundaries and moved budgetary and service responsibilities between and within health and justice agencies — aiming to improve the outcomes for people who are detained at various levels of secure provision across both systems. Significant financial investments have been made as a result of these policy alterations; the Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder programme is one notable example. Significant further change regarding health and justice in this country is afoot; the Centre for Health & Justice’s research output intends to impact these amendments.
Whilst there is evidence that some of these past and new initiatives have or could improve delivery (both directly and indirectly) this evidence is drawn from disparate strands of research rather than a coherent, planned, and multi-disciplinary programme. The dimensions of ethics, law, education, criminology, social policy, environmental design and security, organisational design, and economics (as important examples) feature little in the currently published material. These dimensions, as well as clinically focussed and practically designed research, should provide the fundamental evidence base on which the new generation of health and justice services are built. Where these disciplines are part of the debate it is usually in a compartmentalised way and the different literatures and perspectives rarely cross-fertilise each other to form a base for new service initiatives, rounded evaluations, or policy evolution. However, these disciplines, literatures, and perspectives often represent stand-alone, well-developed bodies of knowledge that could — if brought together — form a powerful multi-layered framework to help shape and evaluate policy and service development. Such an integrative approach would better reflect the reality of the complex delivery and policy frameworks that form the often confused experience of those who are detained in the systems — and to a great extent the staff who work in them. The Centre for Health & Justice embraces intentionally a broad range of academic, practical, and clinical approaches and disciplines.
The development of the Centre for Health & Justice represents a natural response to the current trend towards the development of a more integrated policy and delivery approach to offender health. The Centre for Health & Justice brings together a multi-disciplinary, national, and international R&D and teaching capacity focussed on improving both the understanding and provision of health interventions for offenders, particularly those who experience mental illness/es.
Prof. Eddie Kane, Director, Centre for Health & Justice, IMH
Melanie Jordan, Centre for Health & Justice, IMH