We’ve compiled top highlights from recent research, policy, and practice resources across the world for our latest IACFP International News summary. Our topics for May and June, 2022 include a report on coping with COVID in prisons, new approaches to engaging justice-involved individuals in meaningful activities, the benefits of probation, statistics on youth violence, strategies for addressing trauma in women’s prisons, and upcoming conferences.
- "Coping with COVID in Prisons"
Over the last 18 months, User Voice and researchers from Queen's University Belfast were funded by the Economic and Social Research Council to conduct one of the biggest systematic studies of prisoner experience during Covid-19. A report launch from this research was held on 15 June 2022. Based on the report launch, the report promises to provide insights, comparative data pre-COVID and during the time of the study, and lessons for improved conditions of confinement and the value of prisoner led research.
The report launch first presented the perspective of some of the peer researchers through direct involvement in the presentation and via video. This reflected the value and priority placed on persons with lived experience in the prisons under COVID-19 restrictions and their perspectives on how it had impacted them and their families. The perspectives were then followed by outcome data on the period of lockdown.
Of interest to readers of the IACFP Bulletin will be the comparisons on the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ9) and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD7) instrument. These comparisons may lead to lessons learned when weighing decisions in the future regarding the utilization of lockdowns, especially over a long period of time.
Panel guests for the report launch also included:
- Charlie Taylor, Chief Inspector of Prisons
- Kate Davies, Director of Health and Justice, NHS England
- Mark Johnson, Founder/CEO, User Voice
- Shadd Maruna, Professor of Criminology, Queen’s University Belfast
- Stephen O’Connell, Deputy Director Prison Recovery, HMPPS
- Vicky Robinson, Director, HMP Bronzefield
During the course of the study, “Rapid Response Reports” were provided to individual prison governors. This allowed them to more immediately hear of the impact being experienced by both prisoners and staff. Vicky Robinson said, “As difficult as it was to read, with the added perspective of science, we were able to design change more effectively and quickly.” Charlie Taylor said that they will use the report in the following ways:
- Listening to what prisoners have to say
- Lessons learned
- Future regime design input
- Recovery priorities (that lead to plan locally)
- Criminological Highlights Vol. 20, No. 1—April 2022
View this issue as a PDF. This issue of Criminological HIghlights addresses the following questions:
- What happens if a medium security prison is set up in a manner that allows prisoners to live productive lives within the prison walls?
- What accounts for the fact that the Black incarceration rate in the US is roughly 6 times that of the White incarceration rate?
- What is the impact on crime of letting prisoners out sooner than might be expected?
- Why are calls to "defund" or "abolish" the police counterproductive?
- What is missing in the manner in which halfway houses are conceptualized and run?
- Why might the term "overdose prevention site" be preferable to the term "safe injection site"?
- Are police more at risk when they respond to disputes involving intimate partners than when they respond to similar incidents in which the participants are not in such a relationship? Do mandatory sentencing laws affect crime rates?
The summary includes a description of how justice-involved individuals in this prison can pursue their ideas for new businesses. They can apply to a fund – directed by prisoners, the warden, and one prison officer – for a no-interest loan. If funding is approved, the prisoner is given a contract to sign that is similar to the agreement an outside private company operating in the prison would need to agree on. The failure of a prisoner’s entrepreneurial project is not held against him. This is certainly an approach that merits consideration for replication and re-entry.
- “Getting Smart on Crime”
The Netherlands Helsinki Committee (NHC) has been working to introduce and develop probation services across Eastern Europe since 2014. As noted on their website, they have made great strides in Armenia and—together with Center for International Legal Cooperation (CILC)—in Serbia, Montenegro, and Ukraine.
To build on and enhance these efforts, the CILC, the NHC, and the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (HU) commissioned Francis Camstra/tasfilms.nl to jointly produce a video: “Get Smart About Crime.” In the video, Sharon Dijksma, Mayor of Utrecht; Frank Porporino, Criminal Justice Consultant and current IACFP Past-President; Jana Špero, Director General for Prison and Probation in Croatia; Rinus Otte Prosecutor General of the Public Prosecution Service of the Netherlands; and John Remmers, ex-offender and Lived-experience practitioner, share their thoughts and takeaways related to the implementation of these programmes and show proof that a better approach to justice is not only possible but preferred social- and economy-wise.
This is an excellent video that highlights the benefits of probation and what it takes to truly get smart on crime. The video can be accessed at “Getting Smart on Crime.”
- Youth Violence During the Pandemic
The Sentencing Project has produced a new briefing report written by Richard Mendel, Senior Research Fellow for Youth Justice. This is an important report that should influence policy in the U.S. There is increasing media coverage of violence, particularly by youth. This report examines the available evidence and finds that violent crime by youth is flat or declining. Evidence—not media coverage—of violence should inform policy. Access the report at Youth Violence During the Pandemic.
- Addressing Trauma in Women’s Prisons
The National Institute of Justice recently published a final report, “Evaluation of in-prison programming for incarcerated women: Addressing trauma and prior victimization,” (2021) by Janeen B. Willison, Janine Zweig, Storm Ervin, Evelyn McCoy, Jahnavi Jagannath, and Melanie Langness. While the report is based on research conducted with state Departments of Corrections in the U.S., there are two key sections that have global application.
First, the report describes the approaches that are being used to address victimization and trauma for incarcerated women. They note the common assessment tools, evidence-based programs, and systems used to respond to in-custody victimization. The programs commonly used are:
- Moving on, by Marilyn Van Dieten;
- Seeing Safety, by Lisa Najavits;
- Forever Free, by David Conn; and
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, by Marsha Linehan.
Also included were programs by Stephanie Covington: Beyond Trauma, Helming Women Recover and Beyond Violence.
Secondly, the report highlights three facilities where they were able to do far more extensive case studies. These were in the states of Iowa, Alabama, and Oregon. The more in-depth information that is provided regarding the experiences of women in custody, their past trauma, and the specific assessments, programs, and activities offered to address trauma and victimization should be helpful to any corrections or justice system agency seeking to improve services to women, They also provide ideas for policy enhancements, staff training, and partnerships with victim service providers, correctional facilities, and community-based providers.
4. Upcoming Conferences
- NCCHC Correctional Mental Health Care Conference, July 31-August 1, 2022
Mental health issues and substance use disorders are up throughout the country, along with staffing shortages and compassion fatigue. Join NCCHC for a comprehensive look at correctional mental health care at their first in-person conference in three years.
For more information, visit www.ncchc.org or click here.
- American Correctional Association, August 4-7, 2022
This year's 152nd Congression of Correction will take place in New Orleans, LA. Attendees can check regularly for updates on the event, plus housing and registration information on the organization's website.
For more information go to American Correctional Association.
- World Congress on Probation and Parole, September 28-October 1, 2022
The World Congress on Probation and Parole invites experts, researchers, and practitioners from around the world to promote and develop probation and community corrections through the sharing of practical and academic knowledge.
The theme of the event will be: “No One Left Behind: Building Community Capacity"
The Congress will explore the challenges, opportunities, and success stories involved in building community capacity and sustaining partnerships that support successful reintegration for diverse groups of offenders in an evolving global environment.
- International Corrections & Prisons Association, October 23-28, 2022
Join ICPA in Orlando, FL, for this year's annual conference. The theme for 2022 is "Excelling beyond the 'Old Normal': Corrections After the Global Pandemic." Call for papers is open through April 2022. Visit the ICPA website for more information.
For more information, go to www.icpa.org
February - April 2022: Call for Papers open
February 2022: Sponsorship/Exhibition Applications open
March - August 2022: Early-Bird Registrations
Venue and Accommodation
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
6000 West Osceola Parkway
Kissimmee, Florida 34746 USA