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  1. Celebrating Therapy in the Custodial Setting Therapeutic Communities, The Treatment Regime at HMP Grendon & Some Ethical Considerations Professor Michael Brookes Director of Therapeutic Communities: HMP Grendon Visiting Professor: Birmingham City University CPN 4TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE

  2. This report recommended that a special institution be built with its conclusion being that “psychotherapy as an adjunct to an ordinary prison sentence appears to be effective in preventing or reducing the chance of future anti-social behaviour, provided the cases to which treatment is applied are carefully selected” 1939 East-Hubert Report

  3. Rt Hon R.A. Butler, Home Secretary, on laying the foundation stone on 1 July 1960 said: “The regime must be flexible with the accent on treatment; and success will depend above all on an enlightened staff-inmate relationship, together with close co-operation at all levels between the different members of the staff”

  4. 240 bed Category B prison No Segregation Unit Opened in 1962 Each of the six wings is an individual therapeutic community Fully accredited CSAP intervention Warren et al (2003) cite TCs as having the ‘most promising evidence’ in the treatment of severe personality disorder HMP Grendon

  5. Prisoner Characteristics (1) 90% serving life sentences (47% mandatory lifer, 21% discretionary lifer, 31% IPP, 1% Section 2). 2% serving 4 - 7 years, 2% serving 7 - 10 years, 6% serving 10 years or more. 21% aged 21-30, 31% aged 31-40, 37% 41-50, 11% over 50. High % personality disturbance (81% assessed as having at least 1 personality disorder) Significant levels of emotional distress (anxiety, depression, histories of abuse)

  6. Prisoner Characteristics (2) The majority of residents at Grendon are serving sentences for murder, manslaughter or violence (including those with sexual elements) Many studies have drawn attention to the combination of both the extensive criminal history and disturbed personality profiles of Grendon prisoners Grendon receives more psychopaths than any other type of English prison Large proportion of the Grendon population (50% to 75%) identified as having Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder characteristics

  7. Has more than 18 months to serve Has been off Category A status for the last 6 months Meets ‘drug free’ criteria (within 2 months) No diagnosis of major mental illness Comprehension of rules & signs compact Accepts responsibility for offence Meets self harm criteria (within 2 months) Referral Criteria

  8. Sufficiently motivated Necessary insight & psychological mindedness IQ criteria (29 or over on the Raven’s Progressive Matrices or 80 and above on the WAIS/WASI) Psychopathy criteria: those scoring 25 or over on the PCL-R will be subject to further assessment prior to acceptance for treatment Responsivity Criteria


  10. Principles of therapeutic communities (Rapoport, 1960; HMPS, 2007) Democratisation Permissiveness Communalism Reality Confrontation A living learning experience Culture of enquiry Confidentiality/No secrets

  11. Guiding Structures of Democratic TCs Debate, exploration and enquiry Involvement, participation and responsibility Therapeutic alliances Safety, boundaries and containment Decision making and democratisation

  12. Affective experience Interpersonal dynamics Appraisals Belief systems Analytic Cognitive Behavioural Engagement Reality Testing Attachments Developmental Experiences Problem solving Perspective taking Pro social culture ‘Living learning’ Social Learning Social feedback Modelling Vicarious learning Theoretical Integration

  13. Needs Addressed Within Grendon anti-social attitudes and feelings; distorted thinking used to justify/minimise offending; difficulty in recognising relevant risk factors and in generating appropriate strategies to cope with them; dependency on alcohol and drugs; adverse social and/or family histories and circumstances; deviant sexual or violent interests, especially arousal patterns and pre-occupations; poor social, interpersonal skills which are often offence-relevant.

  14. Power relationships: staff vs resident decision-making Voluntary engagement, addressing risk factors/treatment targets and process for withdrawing from therapy Confidentiality & disclosure of information Conditioning, compromise & integrity Staff support Ethical Considerations

  15. To what extent can power in a Category B prison be truly devolved? Should staff vote in community meetings in the same way as residents? When should staff overrule votes taken by residents? What impact does the personality mix of residents have in the resident decision-making process? How does life ‘upstairs’ impact on life ‘downstairs’? Power relationships: staff vs resident decision-making

  16. Informed consent? What about ISPs? Treatment within a TC: awareness of intensity of group based approach ‘Opening up’ responsibilities: ‘capacity to cope’ Impact of RTU & community/staff deselection Outstanding risk factors and treatment needs/targets: divergent views Voluntary engagement, addressing risk factors/treatment targets and process for withdrawing from therapy

  17. Staff allegiances to different stakeholders (employing organisation, court requirement, professional body, client) Working in multi-disciplinary teams/multi-agency arrangements: information sharing/shared records Need to protect the public - risk assessments, report writing, working notes Need to ensure the safety of the individual (self-harm disclosure or if someone else at risk) Potential for staff compromise/collusion/splitting if told something ‘in-confidence’ Additional offences Security of the establishment & SIRs Establishing the right culture within each TC: ‘encouragement to do the right thing – share all relevant information’ Confidentiality & disclosure of information

  18. Closeness of working arrangements Supportive therapeutic relationships Impact of hearing distressing material Maintaining personal boundaries Role of the staff team Containing own frustrations/expressed hostility of residents Always acting respectfully, competently, responsibly, decently & with integrity Conditioning, compromise & integrity

  19. Pre-group/community meeting briefing Post group supervision/de-briefing Post community meeting de-briefing Weekly sensitivity meetings Individual supervision (contracted) Group supervision Informal (and if necessary formal) individual/group peer and/or clinical team discussions (particularly if distressed) Staff Support Mechanisms

  20. Brookes, M. and Shuker, R (Eds.) Grendon 50th Anniversary Edition. The Howard Journal, 49, (5). Jones, D (Ed.) (2004). Working with dangerous people: The psychotherapy of violence. Oxford: Radcliffe Medical Press. Parker, M (Ed.) (2007). Dynamic security: The democratic therapeutic community in prison. London: Jessica Kingsley Shuker, R. and Sullivan. E.L (Eds.) (2010), Grendon and the Emergence of Forensic Therapeutic Communities: Developments in Research and Practice, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. Further Reading