PTSD in offender populations
Allely, Clare S.; Allely, Bob (2020) Post traumatic stress disorder in incarcerated populations: current clinical considerations and recommendations, Journal of Criminal Psychology, Volume 10 (1): 13 – Jan 20, 2020
Having recently read this paper it shares many sentiments I have been thinking for a long time in my clinical practice. This paper highlights the increasing number of studies that have identified high prevalence rates of PTSD within prison systems. It points to the importance of the need for early screening for individuals for PTSD and the need for interventions that are specifically tailored to account for these symptoms, so these can be addressed first, thus enabling individual’s to gain from accredited interventions to address their offending behaviour.
From my own practice, anecdotally it is alarming how many individuals have been exposed to trauma, often multiple traumas in their own histories and the impact of this on their development and offending pathway is clear when conducting detailing clinical formulations with them. Too often I have seen past trauma ignored and current presentations conceptualised in more negative terms such as ‘lack of motivation’, when the individual may be experiencing high levels of threat activation that often can be triggered when asked to explore their past. Whilst there is more recognition of this now, than in my early years of practice, there is still a long way to go in terms of ensuring ‘systems’ are taking a truly responsive approach to an individual’s needs.