Understanding the service user’s journey through a transitional support service from custody to the community
evidence and practice    

Understanding the service user’s journey through a transitional support service from custody to the community

Aisling O’Meara Researcher, Offender Personality Disorder Pathway, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, Cardiff, Wales
Louise Morgan Transitional Support Mental Health Liaison Nurse, Swansea Bay University Health Board, Swansea, Wales
Stephen Godden Transitional Support Mental Health Liaison Nurse, Swansea Bay University Health Board, Swansea, Wales
Jason Davies Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, Swansea University, Swansea, Wales

Why you should read this article:
  • To understand the challenges experienced by offenders being released from custody

  • To identify the specific mental health needs of offenders when transitioning from custody to the community

  • To recognise the role that transitional support nurses have in maintaining continuity of care for service users

The Offender Personality Disorder Pathway in Wales identified a need for those leaving custody in England and returning to communities in Wales. The disconnection between English custodial services and Welsh community services has meant that many offenders left prison without follow-on support identified. Links between criminal justice services and health or third-sector services are not well established, and it is often challenging for those responsible for people leaving custody to access necessary services.

To address these issues, a mental health transitional support and liaison service was piloted in South Wales. With no female prisons in Wales, all Welsh women convicted and sentenced to prison must serve their sentences in prisons in England, so this pilot began by addressing women’s services. The service has since expanded to address the absence of mental health support available for men transitioning from custodial settings to the community.

This article outlines the implementation of the transitional support service and details its care pathway, which involves: identification of service users; information gathering and formulation; establishing the functions of subsequent transitional support nurse work; and phasing out services. It presents case studies to provide context to the support offered and discusses details of the continuing service expansion.

Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2020.e1455

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

aisling.omeara@justice.gov.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

O’Meara A, Morgan L, Godden S et al (2020) Understanding the service user’s journey through a transitional support service from custody to the community. Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2020.e1455

Published online: 15 April 2020

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