A postal survey of the assessment procedure for personality disorder in forensic settings
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Aims and method: A survey of 50 in-patient forensic health care and prison services in England, Wales and Scotland was employed to evaluate: (a) how severe personality disorder is assessed; and (b) how assessments compare with recommendations concerning standardised assessment by the Working Group on Psychopathic Disorder (Reed, 1994). Results: Seventy per cent of services responded, of whom 40% formally assessed personality disorder. Fifty-four instruments were routinely employed. Assessments of personality structure and cognitive/emotional styles were more common than structured diagnostic instruments or ratings of interpersonal functioning. Of the assessment tools, 25.7% of services provided at least one suggested by Reed (1994). Clinical implications: A nationally agreed, focused repertoire of instruments should be encouraged within secure forensic settings offering assessments to individuals with severe personality disorder.