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Custody vs care: attitudes of prison staff to self-harm in women prisoners—a qualitative study

Custody vs care: attitudes of prison staff to self-harm in women prisoners—a qualitative study,10.1080/14789940802377114,Journal of Forensic Psychiatr

Custody vs care: attitudes of prison staff to self-harm in women prisoners—a qualitative study   (Citations: 4)
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Self-harm rates amongst the UK female prison population are disproportionately high. Prison staff potentially have a crucial role in the identification and management of female prisoners at risk; despite this there has been little focus on the attitudes of prison staff towards female prisoners who self-harm. This paper presents such an explanation; qualitative methods were used, with semi-structured interviews with eight prison officers and five healthcare staff from one female prison in the North of England. Interviews were tape recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed iteratively, until category saturation was achieved. The data suggests that prison staff labelled self-harm as either ‘genuine' or ‘non-genuine.’ Women whose self-harm was perceived as non-genuine by staff were viewed as ‘rational manipulators,’ self-harming to achieve particular ends. Staff described feelings of resentment towards these women. Most staff reported that balancing their welfare and security functions was difficult, feeling most confident with their custody role. They described feeling untrained and unsupported in their welfare role, and pressurised due to time constraints and reported low staffing levels. This combination of factors left most staff reporting lack of confidence in dealing with women who self-harm.
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    • ...Some consider self-harm as a “deliberate” act (deliberate self-harm or DSH; Low, Jones, Duggan, Power, & MacLeod, 2001), some focus on the intent of the act while others are concerned with the severity, others understand it as manipulation or attention-seeking (DeHart, Smith, & Kaminski, 2009; Short et al, 2009), while yet others consider all people to exist on a continuum of self-harm that includes behaviours such as smoking, anorexia, harmful lifestyles and more immediate and obvious self-harm such as cutting oneself (Dace et al, 1998)...

    Phillip Snoymanet al. Staff Use of Mandatory Notification as a Means of Reducing Suicide and...

    • ...Criminal justice settings differ from clinical settings in that the individuals on the front lines may have less training in dealing with mental health issues (Ivanoff & Hayes, 2001; Short et al, 2009)...

    Katherine Dixon-Gordonet al. Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Within Offender Populations: A Systematic Rev...

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