Mind the Gap: Improving Transitions for Mentally Disordered Offenders Leaving Custodial Environments

1Alison Pearsall, Dr Dawn Edge, Dr Mike Doyle and Professor Jenny Shaw


Topic: Review of transitional care programmes in various health settings to determine the relevance of transitional case management for individuals with severe enduring mental illness released from custodial environments. Purpose: Transitions, such as discharge or transfer from one service to another or between levels of care can be problematic. In some health and social care sectors such as obstetrics, cardiology, and older age services; transitional care programmes have been introduced to improve continuity of care. Examination of the various forms of transitional care, availability of programmes and associated outcomes in a range of health contexts, could provide important lessons for improving services for mental health service users leaving custodial settings. Sources Used: Published health, social care and criminal justice literature Conclusion and Implications for Practice: Poor transitional care is evident across health sectors and service domains. The consequences for service users can be far reaching such as interrupted, duplicated or omitted interventions, which may have a detrimental or damaging impact on their health and wellbeing. The resultant effects include increased use of emergency care, readmission to hospital and in extreme cases, death. Recent health policies have substantiated the importance of transitional care programmes. However, these are yet to be fully realised within mental health settings. Transitional case management may optimise offenders’ engagement with mental health services and provide more effective and sustainable strategies for managing their complex health and social care needs in the community.


'Transitions’, ‘offenders’, ‘custody’, ‘community’, ‘release’, ‘continuity of care’

Paper Details
IssueIssue 2