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The mental health impact of parole on families of indeterminate‐sentenced prisoners in England and Wales

The mental health impact of parole on families of indeterminate‐sentenced prisoners in England and Wales
The mental health impact of parole on families of indeterminate‐sentenced prisoners in England and Wales

Background: the indeterminate sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP), was created in England and Wales in 2003. After its abolition in 2012, many IPP-prisoners have become stuck in the prison system, facing considerable problems of sentence progression. The extant literature makes clear that the uncertainty and hopelessness caused by the indeterminacy of the IPP sentence are compounded by the negative impacts experienced by families and others providing support to people serving these sentences. 

Aims: the mental strains caused for family members by the IPP sentence were examined. Of particular interest is the role and weight of the parole process experience, and its potential mental and physiological health impact on families. 

Methods: this article draws on findings from two qualitative research projects conducted with families of prisoners serving the IPP sentence in England and Wales. Their experiences will be examined by reference to literature on the mental health impact of indeterminate sentences on prisoners and their families and the wider literature on the symbiotic harms of imprisonment for families. The aim was to add to this by focusing on families' experiences of cumulative stress caused by the sentence.

Findings: we demonstrate that the IPP parole process exerts specific weight and mental strains on family members occupying the negative end of the stress spectrum. Drawing on a body of neuroscientific, neuroendocrinological and criminological literature, we argue that these mental health impacts on families may represent a public health risk in need of practical and policy mitigation. 

Implications: there is a pressing need for recognition of what are often hidden symbiotic harms experienced by families of people sentenced to IPP. Families require more information as well as considerably greater practical and emotional support on an institutional and communal level.

IPP, families of IPP-prisoners, indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for public protection, secondary effects of imprisonment, stress response, symbiotic harms
1471-2857
341-349
Annison, Harry Michael John
91ee5a4a-811e-4b57-9fd4-df643465b2a1
Straub, Christina V
1586b726-e200-4b36-8ecf-8306ab385492
Annison, Harry Michael John
91ee5a4a-811e-4b57-9fd4-df643465b2a1
Straub, Christina V
1586b726-e200-4b36-8ecf-8306ab385492

Annison, Harry Michael John and Straub, Christina V (2020) The mental health impact of parole on families of indeterminate‐sentenced prisoners in England and Wales. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 30 (6), 341-349. (doi:10.1002/cbm.2184).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: the indeterminate sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP), was created in England and Wales in 2003. After its abolition in 2012, many IPP-prisoners have become stuck in the prison system, facing considerable problems of sentence progression. The extant literature makes clear that the uncertainty and hopelessness caused by the indeterminacy of the IPP sentence are compounded by the negative impacts experienced by families and others providing support to people serving these sentences. 

Aims: the mental strains caused for family members by the IPP sentence were examined. Of particular interest is the role and weight of the parole process experience, and its potential mental and physiological health impact on families. 

Methods: this article draws on findings from two qualitative research projects conducted with families of prisoners serving the IPP sentence in England and Wales. Their experiences will be examined by reference to literature on the mental health impact of indeterminate sentences on prisoners and their families and the wider literature on the symbiotic harms of imprisonment for families. The aim was to add to this by focusing on families' experiences of cumulative stress caused by the sentence.

Findings: we demonstrate that the IPP parole process exerts specific weight and mental strains on family members occupying the negative end of the stress spectrum. Drawing on a body of neuroscientific, neuroendocrinological and criminological literature, we argue that these mental health impacts on families may represent a public health risk in need of practical and policy mitigation. 

Implications: there is a pressing need for recognition of what are often hidden symbiotic harms experienced by families of people sentenced to IPP. Families require more information as well as considerably greater practical and emotional support on an institutional and communal level.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 26 October 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 24 November 2020
Keywords: IPP, families of IPP-prisoners, indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for public protection, secondary effects of imprisonment, stress response, symbiotic harms

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 445878
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/445878
ISSN: 1471-2857
PURE UUID: 964881af-1ab4-49c2-8dff-f3e85196251c
ORCID for Harry Michael John Annison: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6042-038X

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Date deposited: 13 Jan 2021 17:30
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 06:15

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Author: Christina V Straub

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