Celebrating and promoting the best in UK prisons, probation and youth justice
COMMENDEE 2013-14: Senior Probation Officer: for contributions to the management and care of offenders with mental health issues and learning disabilities.
[The following article appeared in issue 6 of the Butler Trust’s magazine, Inspire]
Carolyn Maclean of Leicestershire and Rutland Probation Trust has been commended for helping to plan, develop and manage a complex partnership project to improve access to services for offenders with learning disabilities and mental health issues, where almost no provision existed previously.
Towards Excellence – Offender Mental Health and Learning Disabilities is a joined-up approach to provision for people needing mental health support. Following the securing of funding, the project’s first major initiative was the Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion Service, which went live in 2012 and saw mental health nurses based at a Leicester police station for seven days a week – interviewing high risk repeat detainees among others – and at city and county courts to screen and assess people with known or suspected mental health or learning disability issues.
A nurse was also placed in the city’s main probation office, and funding has been secured for a triage car – a police vehicle staffed by a mental health nurse and police officer – to attend incidents and free up frontline staff. In 2012 funding was also secured to employ two IAPT staff to work with offenders being supervised by the Probation Trust, to identify and help deal with their problems.
‘This partnership project was very challenging from the beginning,’ says Carolyn. ‘Although there was an identified need for this provision, there was no common vision and we had to apply for funding.’ However, the programme demonstrates how joined-up thinking can transform services and help reduce reoffending, she stresses. ‘This approach is critical when managing some offenders, who leave prison with mental health issues and begin living in the community but still require treatment and support.’
Chief Inspector Peter Jackson of the Leicestershire Police, meanwhile, said that ‘Towards Excellence has been a complex and demanding project to plan and launch but Carolyn’s drive and determination to overcome obstacles has been remarkable. She backs up her arguments with data and she always ensures that the viewpoint of each contributing agency is considered and valued.’
Trevor Worsfold of the trust’s senior management team, meanwhile, says that ‘this whole mental health programme is truly breaking new ground to provide the right support to end the cycle of crime by seeking to tackle the issues that may have contributed to the offending behaviour,’ and that Carolyn showed ‘an incredible commitment and dedication in her drive to promote and eventually secure funding for this much needed project.’