Studies in Prison

Therapeutic Solutions has led on a number health needs assessments and related studies in custodial settings across England. Including over 12 studies focusing on need in Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs). These studies have focused on generic health needs, specialist substance misuse needs and specific studies examining social care needs of prisoners.

We have also undertaken similar criminal justice led health needs assessments utilising similar methodologies (including generic health needs assessments; substance misuse specific; and social care needs assessments) for the following custodial establishments including Immigration Removal Centres:

  • HMP Altcourse
  • HMP Blantyre House
  • HMP Blundeston (now closed)
  • HMP Bronzefield
  • YOI Cookham Wood
  • HMP Canterbury (now closed)
  • HMP Coldingley
  • HMP Chelmsford
  • HMP Downview
  • HMP East Sutton Park
  • HMP Elmley
  • HMP Ford
  • HMP Highdown
  • HMP Highpoint
  • HMP Hewell
  • HMP Hollesley Bay
  • HMP/YOI Lewes
  • HMP Liverpool
  • HMP Long Lartin
  • HMP Maidstone
  • HMP Rochester
  • HMP Send
  • HMP Standford Hill
  • HMP Swaleside
  • HMP Wormwood Scrubs (evaluation with Middlesex University)
  • HMP Warren Hill
  • IRC Dover
  • IRC Yarls Wood

The methodology we have developed has included:

  • Critical reviews of the available literature
  • Remodelling of general population data to create age-standardised point prevalence estimates for each prison
  • Secondary epidemiological analysis of data including some modelling of demand (e.g. compared prisoners at reception and near to release)
  • Developed auditing of practice across two prisons (HMPYOI Cookham Wood and HMP Bronzefield)
  • Over 100 in-depth staff interviews using semi-structured interview schedules
  • 50 prisoner interviews including where possible enhanced qualitative analysis
  • Over 500 prisoners surveyed
  • 100 staff surveyed using the Survey of Organisational Functioning


Case Study:

We undertook an enhanced needs assessment for the Metropolitan Police. The study was able to identify important findings including:

  • Times of arrival into police custody for detainees with specific health needs
  • The importance of the case mix of illicit drug use and alcohol with mental health issues and to develop integrated pathways/service provision
  • Importance to detainees of the time taken to access a Healthcare Professional
  • Enhance the awareness and investigation of epilepsy among detainees
  • Enhance provision of support for substance misuse and in particular alcohol misuse, including testing and reviewing the use of brief interventions in police custody
  • Develop integrated communications for the management of medication with community-based services and;
  • Develop access to medical records using electronic information-sharing to facilitate pathways into other services.
  • Findings from this study have recently been published in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine.

Recovery Services

We have offered a range of services to support the development of recovery services across the substance misuse sector including a number of reports and academic peer-reviewed papers. We have a paper written in partnership with Birmingham University on influences to 12-Step mutual self-help groups published in the European Addiction Research in September 2014.

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Our Services

We have developed a range of analytical and methodological approaches aimed at understanding the health and substance misuse needs of individuals including extensive interviews with a cross-section of service users in contact with healthcare and other related services. We have also worked to develop methods aimed at understanding the nuances of prisoner satisfaction of clinical services received. Our paper testing use of SERVQUAL as a mechanism for understanding ‘real’ satisfaction rates has been published here.

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Studies and Assessments

We have undertaken over 50 health and substance misuse specific needs assessments since 2006. These have included studies across community settings and across the criminal justice system (including detainee needs in police custody; service users in contact with Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) and prisoners in contact with health services in secure settings).

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