Camden and Islington NHS Mental Health Trust have formed a partnership with the London Probation Service aiming to reduce the recidivism rates and number recalled into prison of offenders with high risk personality disorders upon release into the community.
Personality disorders amongst those incarcerated are at levels three times higher than the national average (62% males, 57% females). This project feels that not enough is being done for those suffering from the condition, either during their stay in prison or upon their release into the community, and is attempting to change the status quo.
It is believed that the reason for many of those with personality disorders being recalled into prison are for minor breaches that may be a result of emotional instability or impulsivity which could be greatly reduced with adequate support.
The project hopes that by training frontline probation staff with psychologists their ability to recognise offenders disorders will improve and as a result more will be appropriately supported and treated. It is envisaged that such will help dispel myths relating to offenders ‘badness’ and encourage viewing such as a treatable mental disorder.
The project is still in its infancy but at present the results are promising, with a 50% decrease in the number of recommittals for the present year in comparison to the same period in 2009. It is also estimated that the project has already managed to save £350,000 of taxpayers' revenue.
With continued success there is considerable possibility for extension of the project, both geographically and into other groups with equally complicated needs.