Treatment Barriers and Support for Male Ex-Armed Forces Personnel in Prison: Professional and Service User Perspectives

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Abstract

Ex-armed forces personnel represent a potentially vulnerable group within the prison population. To provide support to this group, we need to understand their needs and help-seeking behavior. A focus group with professionals and semi-structured interviews with service users explored perspectives of the treatment barriers faced by this group and their support needs. Data were analyzed using constant comparison methods, and four primary themes were identified. The findings suggest ex-armed forces personnel consider prison an opportunity to access support but find it difficult to ask for help. Staff having an awareness of military issues was thought to encourage help-seeking, but the variability of provision across prison establishments was considered a barrier. Resettlement was a prominent concern, and access to support when preparing for, and after, release was felt by all participants to be important. Implications for the provision of support in prison are discussed along with recommendations for practice.

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