Individual placement and support for ex-prisoners with mental health problems

Hamilton, Ian S. (2020) Individual placement and support for ex-prisoners with mental health problems. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Employment is often viewed by policymakers as a key factor in the reintegration process for ex-prisoners. This thesis centres around the examination of a specialist employment service, Individual Placement and Support (IPS), for ex-prisoners with mental health difficulties within the criminal justice system (CJS) in England and Wales. Specifically, this thesis seeks to understand what works, for whom, and under what circumstances. The key objectives of the study were to understand how the IPS service operated within the CJS, whether it was successful in achieving competitive employment for ex-prisoners with mental health difficulties, and how it may need to be adapted to improve its efficacy. In order to achieve this, the current study implemented a mixed-methods approach over a one-year timeframe. The recruitment of participants and delivery of the intervention was based within several prisons and across community sites within England.

Results indicated that, despite study limitations, IPS was shown to be significantly superior to “service as usual” (SAU) at the six-month follow-up. This indicates that an IPS service may be effective in supporting ex-offenders who have mental health difficulties to obtain competitive employment, if this finding can be replicated in other contexts. This study also found that, rather than triggering desistance from offending behaviour, employment is likely to help maintain desistance. Furthermore, results indicated that analysis of the functionality of crime and employment for each individual may help to explain who benefits from employment in terms of desistance.

These findings have implications for policy. Although people who have criminal justice involvement and mental health difficulties express a desire to gain employment, there is a lack of specialist, and consistent, supported employment services for this population. Results of this study highlight how these needs can be met and may contribute to the design and implementation of a future IPS service within the CJS. Specifically, the findings suggest that intensive employment support needs to be fully integrated with a comprehensive approach to reintegration, paying particular attention to criminal functions and other motivating factors for desistance.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Schneider, Justine
Kane, Eddie
Jordan, Melanie
Keywords: Ex-convicts, Employment; Mental illness
Subjects: H Social sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Sociology and Social Policy
Item ID: 60025
Depositing User: Hamilton, Ian
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2023 09:03
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2023 09:06

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