We’ve compiled top highlights from recent news, research, and resources across the world for our latest IACFP International News summary. Our topics for September and October include IACFP updates, recent research and practice highlights, policy updates, and upcoming conferences.
1. IACFP Updates
IACFP Community Corrections Project Update
The IACFP has initiated a project to advance research on how community corrections agencies in countries throughout the world provide programs and services to individuals experiencing mental health challenges (including serious mental illness). The purpose of the project is to document how programs and services contribute to client well-being, including desistance, and ensure public safety.
The project is guided by the IACFP board Community Corrections Committee made up of Matt Epperson, Diane Williams and Gabriel Ong. The project team includes five research assistants: Teresa Brásio-McLaughlin (Scotland), Emilie Gossye (Belgium), Orlando Mayorga (United States), Sonya McLaren (Canada), and Lauren Prince (United States).
The project scope has been expanded to include twenty-three countries, provinces, territories, and states. Surveys are currently being completed by administrators, treatment providers, and community supervision officers. The team has also begun individual interviews and focus groups to provide more in-depth information on policies, practices, and resources. Recommendations and the final report will be presented to the IACFP Board in December 2021.
- How should one interpret denials by police that they engage in racially targeted policing?
- Can probation supervision be made more effective?
- How do immigrants’ views of their local police differ from the views of those with similar origins but who were born in the country?
- Has judicial review of long stays in solitary confinement in prison been shown to be effective?
- Does a court-ordered “certificate of qualification for employment” overcome the stigma of a criminal record when looking for a job?
- Has the US “imprisonment rate” really decreased in recent years?
- Does the full prosecution of drinking-driving offences reduce reoffending?
- Are criminal justice responses to intimate partner violence effective in reducing repeat offending?
Each of the above questions is linked to the one-page summary of the research article, the headline, the conclusion, and the references. It is an excellent resource provided by the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto. The project is funded by the Department of Justice Canada and the University of Toronto’s Geoffrey Hinton Criminology Fund.
New Publication from Howard League for Penal Reform
The Howard League for Penal Reform has published “Making Black Lives Matter in the Criminal Justice System.” It is intended to be a guide for lawyers. However, the guidance given has broader application for all practitioners in the criminal justice system.
It notes under mental health considerations the following, “Black people’s mental health needs are more likely to be met with compulsion rather than care. Black patients disproportionately receive pharmacological interventions rather than talking therapies, mandatory rather than voluntary treatment, and criminal justice responses rather than early intervention (Memon et al, 2016; Wessely et al, 2018).”
The publication identifies strategies that can be taken by those working within the criminal justice system to reduce these biases and facilitate more positive outcomes.
New Publication from The Sentencing Project
The Sentencing Project has a new publication, “Back to School Action Guide: Re-engaging Students and Closing the School to Prison Pipeline.” The report offers solutions for connecting youth to educators and community partners in supporting their success.
New Series from The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice
The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research has launched a new series called “Just About”—a hybrid podcast-webinar that explores topical criminal justice issues to promote dialogue. A recent series, hosted by Steve Kirkwood, focused on COVID and Criminal Justice. Guests included Natalie Logan, Marguerite Schinkel and Kevin Coyne. The guests presented perspectives of service providers and a research perspective. The conclusion was that the pandemic has highlighted problems and inequalities that have existed for some time. Both researchers and practitioners highlighted the impact on staff as well.
New Drug Policies for Women
Penal Reform International and the International Drug Policy Consortium recently published “Gender-sensitive drug policies for women.” The document presents 10 points that make up a model for reform. Its focus is on laws and policies that are consistent with international standards and that are gender-specific and gender-sensitive. This includes a final point that is focused on gender-responsive training and dialogues on women and drug policies. This has application for mental health treatment providers who will also benefit from a more complete understanding of women’s drug use and drug dependency.