Am I there yet? The views of people with learning disability on forensic community rehabilitation.
McCorkell, Alana Deborah
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Introduction: Previously diversion from the criminal justice system for people with LD and forensic needs had meant hospitalisation, but more recently a model of community-based rehabilitation has become possible via new mental health legislation. Community-based orders aim to rehabilitate clients via compulsory, intensive staff support. Although this model is beneficial in theory, empirical evidence suggests there may be a number of issues in practice. The current study aimed to capture the subjective experience of a group of individuals with LD and forensic needs currently on community-based orders. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten participants subject to a community-based order which obliged them to accept intensive staff support. All participants were male. Ages, index behaviour, and time spent on order varied. The data was transcribed and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Results: The main themes which emerged from the data were A taste of freedom, Not being in control, Getting control back, Loneliness, and Feeling like a service user. Overall the results indicated a general ambivalence towards support. Discussion: Participant accounts suggest that the current community rehabilitation model has some shortcomings which need to be addressed. The system as it stands appears to promote high levels of external control, failing to empower clients to self-manage. Suggestions are made for improvements to the current model relating to: achieving clarity over the role of support staff and pathways out of the system; increasing opportunities for service users to voice concerns; empowering staff teams via extensive training and supervision; and directly addressing internalised stigma to promote integration.