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Nursing in Justice and Forensic Health

This guide is designed primarily for nurses, health care assistants and other health care practitioners who are working in, or want to work in, health care in Criminal Justice Services (CJS) providing care to people in a broad range of environments, from police custody to high security prisons. Forensic nurses work in caring for people with mental illnesses who have committed a criminal offence and are receiving services in the community or secure settings. Use this guide to find information resources including books, reports and journal articles.

Last updated: 30/06/2022

Key Resources

House of Commons Justice Committee (2021) Mental health in prison: fifth report of session 2021–22. London: House of Commons.
National Offender Management Service and NHS England (2015) Working with personality disordered offenders: a practitioner’s guide.
Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, Learning Lessons reports.
  • These publications identify lessons to be learned from collective analysis of our investigations.
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Publication cover Royal College of Nursing (2016) Positive and proactive care: reducing the need for restrictive interventions. London: RCN.
Royal College of Nursing (2019) Time and space - enabling defusing activities leaflet. London: RCN.

Nursing in Justice

Betts N (2015) Equal access, equal care: guidance for prison healthcare staff treating patients with learning disabilities. London: NHS England.
CED Joint Working Group (2021) Conducted Energy Device (CED): at a glance guidance for ED Clinicians. London: The Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine.
Criminal Justice Joint Inspection (2021) Neurodiversity in the criminal justice system: a review of evidence. London: CJJI.
Davies M, Rolewicz L, Schlepper L and Fagunwa F (2020) Locked out? Prisoners' use of hospital care. Research report: Nuffield Trust.
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales (2021) The Annual report of HM Chief Inspector of prisons from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. London: HMIP
Joint Unions in Prisons Alliance (JUPA) - Safe inside.
  • The Joint Unions in Prisons Alliance (JUPA) was set up in response to ongoing concerns about the safety of staff working in prison environments to seek improvements to working conditions in prisons so that staff can feel 'Safe Inside'.
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NHS commissioning - NHS England Health and Justice.
  • NHS England Health and Justice is responsible for commissioning healthcare for children, young people and adults across secure and detained settings.
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Howard League for Penal Reform (2017) Preventing prison suicide: staff perspectives. London: The Howard League.
Ministry of Justice (2016) Prison Safety and Reform. London: HMSO.
NHS England and NHS Improvement (2021) Meeting the healthcare needs of adults with a learning disability and autistic adults in prison. London: NHS.
Prison Reform Trust (2021) Bromley briefings: prison factfile winter 2021. London: Prison Reform Trust.
The Royal College of General Practitioners (2019) Safer prescribing in prisons, guidance for clinicians. London: RCGP.

Forensic Health Care

Georgiou M, Oultram M and Haque D Q (eds.) (2019) Standards for forensic mental health services: low and medium secure care. 3rd edn. London: Royal College of Psychiatrists.
NHS Scotland: Forensic mental health services managed care network.
Royal College of Psychiatrists (2018) Prison mental health in Northern Ireland (CR219). London: RCP.
Scottish Government: Forensic mental health.
We would like to thank the RCN Nursing in Justice and Forensic Health Care member community for their input into the development of this subject guide.

Nursing in Justice

Book Cover Barr O (2019) Oxford handbook of learning and intellectual disability nursing. 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Book cover Matheson J, Patterson J, and Neilson L (eds.) (2020) Tackling causes and consequences of health inequalities: a practical guide. London: CRC Press.
Book cover Walker T (2016) Preventing self-injury and suicide in women's prisons. Hook: Waterside Press.
Book cover Walsh E and Norman A (2014) Nursing in criminal justice services. Keswick: M and K Publishing.

Forensic Health books

Book cover Amar A and Sekula L K (2015) A practical guide to forensic nursing: incorporating forensic principles into nursing practice. Sigma Theta Tau International.
Book cover Ashmore Z (2014) Forensic practice in the community. Florence: Taylor and Francis.
Book cover Bailey S (2017) Forensic child and adolescent mental health: meeting the needs of young offenders. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Book cover Blumenthal S,  Wood H and Williams A (2018) Assessing risk: a relational approach. Abingdon: Routledge. 
Book cover Bratina M P (2017) Forensic mental health: framing integrated solutions. New York: Routledge.
Book cover El-Genady E (2015) Forensic mental health nursing and criminal justice system. Saarbr├╝cken: Lap Lambert Academic Publishing.
Book cover Jackson A R W, Jackson J M, Mountain H and Brearley D (2016) Jackson and Jackson forensic science. 4th edn. Harlow: Pearson.
Book cover Pollock P (2015) Cognitive analytic therapy for offenders: a new approach to forensic psychotherapy. London: Routledge.
Book cover Rogers A, Harvey J and Law H (2015) Young people in forensic mental health settings: psychological thinking and practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Book cover Scannell J M (2018) Fast facts about forensic nursing: what you need to know. New York: Springer Publishing.
Book cover Spooner M (2015) Working with people in secure forensic mental health settings: a care quality guide for support workers and staff. Hove: Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd.
Book cover Stark M M (2020) Clinical forensic medicine: a physician's guide. Cham: Springer.

Book subject searches

Use these links to see details of books the RCN libraries hold on each topic.

Nursing in Justice journal articles

Forensic Health journal articles

Use these links to see details of journal articles on each topic.

Nursing in Justice journals

Journals of interest for Nursing in Justice.

Forensic Health journals

Nursing History Collection

Institutions of Confinement Hospitals, Asylums and Prisons in Western Europe and North America, 1500-1950 Finzsch N and R Jutte (2003)  Institutions of confinement hospitals, asylums and prisons in Western Europe and North America, 1500-1950. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Special collections

Our Permanent Collection consists of nursing specific core items and rare items, and as such is viewable by appointment only. Here is a small selection of items from our collection.
NACRO (1975) Health visitors and the prevention of crime. London: Barry Rose.
Rowe J (1927) John Howard: prison reformer and philanthropist. London: The Epworth Press.
Smalley H (1902) Prison hospital nursing: being a manual of first aid and nursing for the prison hospital staff. London: HMSO.

Historical journals

Nursing Record/British Journal of Nursing (1888-1956)
  • Digitised journal available online.
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  • Article: (no author) (1922) Editorial: HM Prison Nursing Service, British Journal of Nursing, 25 Feb, p.111.
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  • Article: (no author) (1925) Lecture on prision nursing, British Journal of Nursing: Royal British Nurses Association supplement, November, p.234-235.
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  • Article: (no author) (1909) The Elizabeth Fry League, British Journal of Nursing, 18 December, p.495-496.
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Page last updated - 30/06/2022