chapter  26
14 Pages

Psychology in the UK National Offender Management Service: prisons and probation

ByGraham Towl

In this chapter coverage is given of the prevalence and growth of psychological practice in prisons along with some questions for reflection upon about this stage in the development of the discipline in UK prison and probation services. The historically significant change with the advent of the statutory regulation of practitioner psychologists in the UK from 2009 is also touched upon. But perhaps most potentially contentiously the ‘elephant in the living room’ within forensic psychology in particular, in the current period (2008-10) are the challenging training arrangements for forensic trainees. These are assessed with some ideas for improvements. Regrettably, the experience of trainees for the past five years has been that it takes an unnecessarily long time to qualify as a forensic psychologist in the UK. However, readers are reminded that any such discussions about training arrangements are best viewed as a commentary at a particular point in time in the development of such training arrangements. Given the recent history of relatively rapidly changing training requirements, and the new role of the Health Professions Council, prospective trainees would be well advised to get the most up-to-date information from their relevant professional and institutional bodies. The situation with forensic psychology is given a high level of focus because these are the largest single group of applied psychologists working directly in prisons. However, one significant change in recent years, as discussed below, is the advent of a greater variety of applied psychologists working with offenders who are in prisons or community-based services.