A retrospective evaluation of a therapeutic community for mentally disordered offenders
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This paper reports a retrospective evaluation of a therapeutic community (TC) for mentally disordered offenders in a regional secure unit (RSU). All 85 patients who had passed through the TC since it opened in 1987 were eligible for the study. Information on 81 patients was available in clinical records, providing a descriptive profile of the population. Information on recidivism was collected from the Home Office Offenders Index for 53 patients, providing information on effectiveness of the TC in terms of its impact on crime. Those for whom post-discharge crime information was collected were split into assessment and treatment groups, and short- and long-stay groups. All patients significantly reduced their offending after discharge as compared with pre-admission levels. There was no significant difference between the assessment and treatment groups, or between short- and long-stay groups. Whilst there was a significant overall reduction in offending, this cannot be attributed to the TC programme. Programme design, selection criteria and pre-admission assessment all require further attention to optimize the effectiveness of group treatment for mentally disordered offenders.