Charlie Brooker, Honorary Professor, Centre for Sociology and Criminology, Royal Holloway, University of London, presented the 14th Annual Martin Tansey Memorial Lecture, "Probation and Mental Health: Do We Really Need 'Equivalent' Care?” online on Monday 24th May, 2021.
Martin Tansey was the founding Chairperson of ACJRD. Each year, ACJRD marks the contribution which Martin made to both Criminal Justice in Ireland and to this Association with a Memorial Lecture in spring. To view further information and papers from the lectures which have taken place since the inaugural event in 2008, please click here.
To view a copy of Professor Brooker's Lecture, please click here.
Summary: A ‘Zeitgeist’ is defined as ‘the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time’, and I am pleased to say I think this is what is currently happening with probation and mental health. For too long, mental health has been the poor relation in probation practice — a situation that seems to be gradually changing. This paper draws from a series of research studies, undertaken locally, nationally and across Europe, to show that we are beginning to understand more and more about probation and the mental health of its clientèle. There are still serious gaps in our research knowledge, for example, about effective interventions, but the last decade has clarified the direction of travel that is required. The paper questions whether clients with mental health problems in probation require ‘equivalence’. That is, the same services that other members of the general population can access, who live in the community. I argue that the complexity of clients’ presentations does not equate to what is currently available in the community. Thus, new thinking is required, and much more research is needed to examine, for example, the role of assertive-outreach principles and models of service provision — perhaps alongside a sub-group of specialist Probation Staff specifically trained in mental health. There is a long way to travel before we can say that all Probation clients are receiving the mental health services they need.
Keywords: Mental health, probation, prevalence studies, systematic review, personality disorder, suicide, assertive outreach
To view a copy of Professor Brooker's lecture slides, please click here.
The following links were shared by members of the audience during the Q&A session that followed the lecture
SPACE - Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics https://www.coe.int/en/web/prison/space
Suicide and probation: A systematic review of the literature: https://www.cep-probation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Suicide-and-probation-A-systematic-review-of-the-literature-Sirdifield-Brooker-Marples.pdf
Carmha Ireland, 81 Silver St, Nenagh South, Co. Tipperary, (Ph. 087 772 2671) is a charity which offers free counselling and peer-support service in a safe, non-judgmental environment for people over 18 years of age who have co-existing addiction and mental health issues.