Mentally disordered offenders' views of 'their' risk assessment and management plans: perceptions of health risks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

In Britain, there has been an increased emphasis on the use of risk assessments in mental health services over the past 20 years. Mentally disordered offenders
subject to Section 41 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (England and Wales) are
defined as posing a serious risk of harm to others. They are thus dealt with by
forensic mental health services, which are often seen as specialists in risk
assessments. This paper is based on original research in three mental health trusts in the South of England which was carried out between March 2009 and
September 2011. The paper examines mentally disordered offenders’ awareness and attitude to formal risk assessments in relation to theories of governmentality. Service users subject to Section 41 of the Mental Health Act 1983 were aware that their level of risk was being assessed by professionals caring for them but were commonly unaware of the content of these assessments. These risk assessments were viewed by participants as a means through which professionals measured and monitored behaviour. Although participants often referred to levels of risk, they did not view risk screening schedules as objective, but rather emphasised the need to persuade staff that their risk had reduced. Despite showing a limited awareness of the content of these risk assessments, participants generally identified more risks, in relation to their vulnerability, than did the professional assessments. However, participants generally identified fewer risks in relation to the dangers they posed to others than did professional staff.
LanguageEnglish
Pages667-680
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Risk & Society
Volume14
Issue number7-8
Early online date1 Oct 2012
DOIs
StatusPublished - Oct 2012

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Risk Management
Health
Mental Health
Mental Health Services
England
Wales
Appointments and Schedules
Research

Keywords

  • risk
  • Risk assessment
  • risk perceptions
  • risk communication
  • risk management
  • forensic mental health

Cite this

Mentally disordered offenders' views of 'their' risk assessment and management plans: perceptions of health risks. / Dixon, Jeremy.

In: Health Risk & Society, Vol. 14, No. 7-8, 10.2012, p. 667-680.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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