Research | Leeds prison research

Research carried out by The Disabilities Trust Foundation shows nearly half of prisoners (47%) have a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI).

You can read more about it below.

In response to this, The Disabilities Trust Foundation has developed a Brain Injury Screening Index (BISI ®) to identify a history of brain injury among prisoners.

In order to support people in prison with a history of brain injury we have just finished a 2 and a half year project providing a prison Linkworker service in HMP Leeds, and pilot projects in HMYOI Hindley and HMYOI Wetherby. We have just published the Brain Injury Linkworker Report (2016 Edition) which provides a full account of our projects in these institutions.

Read more information about the brain injury awareness training available to staff working with prisoners.

Leeds prison research

The study showed that routine screening, coupled with increased awareness, staff training and effective support could prove vital to reducing recidivism.

Through the help of a band 3 healthcare assistant, a six question screening questionnaire was conducted within 48 hours of admission to the prison for every new arrival over a six month period. Those that responded positively to the screen were offered further assessment and support. All positive respondents were then referred to our specialist research team.

During the research phase, the Foundation employed a full time research assistant to work within the prison, conducting interviews and assessments alongside our clinical lead Consultant in Neuropsychology and Rehabilitation. The research not only provided the largest prevalence data set for an adult prison in the UK but also answered some of the questions posed above.

This was the first study of its kind within a UK prison, which followed a self-reporting questionnaire with a clinical interview to confirm the presence of brain injury. We also conducted cognitive testing to ascertain an assessment of needs for each prisoner with a brain injury.

At the time of the study there was no screening for brain injury within the criminal justice system. The Foundation set about developing a screening tool that could be easily added to existing assessment processes used at reception within a prison.

The research study enabled us to examine the validity of the screening tool. Read more here about the Brain Injury Screening Index.

The results of the study led the Foundation to place a full-time specialist brain injury Linkworker to support prisoners with a brain injury in HMP Leeds. This project has now ended, and the results of the project can be seen in our Brain Injury Linkworker Report 2016.

If you would like to know more, please read our Leeds prison research briefing paper.