Developing policies and procedures for managing bullying and aggression in secure services.
Submitting InstitutionUniversity of Central Lancashire
Unit of AssessmentPsychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Summary Impact TypeSocietal
Research Subject Area(s)
Medical and Health Sciences: Public Health and Health Services
Studies In Human Society: Criminology
Psychology and Cognitive Sciences: Psychology
Summary of the impact
The research focuses on developing an understanding of the nature and
extent of bullying behaviour within secure services, which has extended to
developing methods of measurement, training and policy creation. This is a
novel research area developed by Jane Ireland and colleagues, initially at
UCLan and in HM Prison Service. It was later extended to NHS secure
settings and other sites nationally and internationally. Key applications
of this research include the preparation of policy and strategy documents
that have formed the basis for anti-bullying strategies in HM Prison
Service, NHS high secure psychiatric institutions, and the Canadian
There was practically no research on bullying in secure settings when
Jane Ireland published her first article on this topic in 1996 (Ireland
& Archer, 1996). Her subsequent work, both single-authored, and with a
wide range of academic colleagues, researchers within HM Prison Service,
research assistants and research students, covers over 10,000 prisoners,
and around 1,000 forensic psychiatric patients. There are now over 60
papers by Jane Ireland on bullying in secure services, single-authored and
in collaboration with others; in addition, the first book in this area was
published in 2002, and a further text in 2005. The majority of
publications are from 2001, when Jane Ireland was appointed as a senior
lecturer. Prior to that she was a PhD student in the department from 1997
The focus of the research is on the following topics: (1) the nature and
extent of bullying in secure institutions; (2) the motivations for
bullying and other forms of aggression; (3) the categories of individuals
involved in such aggression; (4) development and application of
psychological theory to aggression in secure settings, culminating in Jane
Ireland developing the Interactional Model of Prison Bullying and
the Multifactorial Model of Bullying in Secure settings; (5)
differences between populations and services; (6) the role of the social
and physical environment.
The research has led to findings that have informed training and policy.
Underpinning all the significant research findings was the development of
a behavioural checklist for measuring the nature and extent of prison
bullying: this scale was first developed in 1998 and subsequently revised
in 2004 and 2005, and has been used throughout the prison service and in
other forms of secure settings, by Jane Ireland and her group, and
routinely by other researchers. Significant findings that have informed
training and policy include: (1) the absence of sex differences, leading
to the realisation that similar policies can be developed for both men and
women prisoners; (2) the significance of subtle (indirect) forms of
bullying, and its impact on inmates' wellbeing; (3) consistency of
findings across different populations, again having implications for
consistency of interventions; (4) the recognition of the significant
overlap between individuals who bully and those who are victims of
bullying; (5) the importance of the prison environment as a facilitating
or inhibiting influence on the level of bullying (this is clearly an area
where practical policies stem directly from research findings); (6) that
emotions constitute core motivating factors (which has implications for
individual-level interventions); (7) the role of staff in promoting or
inhibiting bullying behaviour.
The work of Jane Ireland and her colleagues has advanced the research
field and developed policy. Following earlier developments in the Prison
Service, the first policy in this area applied within the NHS was
completed in 2000. It continues to be used both in the NHS and as a
template by other services.
The NHS has also funded a range of projects on patient bullying led by
Professor Ireland. This has included Rampton High Secure Hospital funding
a project in 2007 (£48,230), Broadmoor High Secure Hospital in 2010 - 11
(£80,000), with Ashworth Hospital funding research in 2012 - 13 via the
commissioner led NHS CQUINN funding (circa £60K).
References to the research
1. Archer J, Ireland JL, Power CL. (2007). Differences between bullies
and victims, and men and women, on aggression-related variables among
prisoners. British Journal of Social Psychology, 46, 299-322.
2. Ireland JL, Ireland, CA. (2008). Intra-group aggression among
prisoners: Bullying intensity and exploration of victim-perpetrator
mutuality. Aggressive Behavior, 34, 76-87.
3. Ireland, JL, Qualter, P. (2008). Bullying and social and emotional
loneliness in a sample of adult male prisoners. International Journal of
Law and Psychiatry, 31, 19-29.
4. Turner P, Ireland, JL. (2010). Do personality characteristics and
beliefs predict intra-group bullying between prisoners? Aggressive
Behavior, 36, 261-270.
5. Ireland, JL. (2011). Bullying in prisons: Bringing research
up-to-date. In CP Monks, I Coyne (Eds.), Bullying in different contexts
(137-156). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
6. Ireland, J.L. (2011). The importance of coping, threat appraisal and
beliefs in understanding and responding to fear of victimization:
Applications to a male prisoner sample. Law and Human Behavior, 35,
Details of the impact
The impact of this research on the development of policy and
implementation procedures has been greatly facilitated by the fact that
the key researcher, Jane Ireland, remains employed part-time in clinical
services, with a career founded in HM Prison Service and continued in high
secure NHS services. This has led to the development of realistic
implementation strategies which have thus received considerable attention
by practitioners in the UK and internationally.
The first major contribution of this was the development in 1998 of a
behavioural checklist used to measure bullying behaviour (the Direct and
Indirect Prisoner Behaviour Checklist: DIPC). The DIPC is being used
widely by national and international researchers to measure and monitor
bullying, with a revised version made available in 2004 and a scaled
version in 2005. It has also been supplemented further with an attitudinal
scale to explore the range of myths and normative beliefs underpinning
bullying behaviour. The development and use of the DIPC is such that it
now appears as a keyword in publication searches. It has been used on a
regular basis throughout the prison service during the past 10 years.
In 2001, Jane Ireland wrote a policy and strategy, based on her research,
for dealing with bullying and aggression. This has subsequently been
adopted by the NHS and the Canadian Correctional Service. Ireland has
returned to the Canadian Correctional Service on two occasions since 2008
to evaluate its implementation. It has also been adopted by Rampton High
Secure Hospital, Broadmoor High Secure Hospital and Ashworth High Secure
Hospital. Ireland has worked with all these services in developing and
implementing the policy further. The policy has also been disseminated to
other services worldwide who have adapted it, including Finland,
Australia, Croatia, Iceland and New Zealand. The policy and strategy
incorporates all of the key findings indicated in section 2.
Other services that have benefited directly from the bullying policy and
strategy include HM Prison Service and Romania Prison Services. Ireland
has trained over 1,000 prison officers nationally and internationally in
approaches to bullying, with this extending to include other professional
groups such as psychologists, prison governors, psychiatric nurses and
hospital managers. Following a direct request from the Romania government,
in 2010 Ireland trained all 65 psychologists from the Romania Prison
Service in the management of bullying and aggression.
One example of the practical implications of the work comes from the
recent Government Homicide Inquiry at Broadmoor High Secure Hospital
(Chaired by Robert Francis, QC) in 2009. As part of the management of the
inquiry, the NHS invited Jane Ireland to conduct research into the nature
of patient-to-patient aggression and how this was informed by staff views
and the environment. This led to a research and consultancy grant to UCLan
(ended in February 2011 but with implementation ongoing). Ireland
continues to work with this Trust to develop their strategies to manage
patient bullying since this was a pivotal feature of the homicide inquiry.
Indeed, CQUINN (Commissioning Quality) NHS targets in Broadmoor, Rampton
and Ashworth High Secure hospitals have included those focusing on
developing `Healthy Ward Communities' which have been based on the work of
A second example concerns consultancy work with the HM Inspectorate of
Prisons: Ireland has worked as a consultant for the Inspectorate since
2001 and has advised on their report recommendations and provided detail
on the background to prison bullying. The work has also been used by the
Prison Reform Trust and the Home Office more broadly to develop
anti-bullying strategies for prisoners. Requested research into the
prevalence of bullying within individual establishments has been regularly
undertaken. Since 2005 prisons have had to conduct twice-yearly surveys
into the nature and extent of the problem: Professor Ireland and her group
commonly assist with this, frequently using the DIPC.
Sources to corroborate the impact
Since the work is forensic in nature, a number of the policies and
implementation guides are restricted in access, in accordance with
security policies. This particularly applies to the high secure estate.
However, contacts to verify the work can be provided and these include:
a. Contact 1. Dr Kevin Murray, Clinical Director, Broadmoor High Secure
Hospital, (for report and grant commission).
b. Paragraph 2.5 for PB/RL Action Plan Level 1 Inquiry — Board summary of
Ireland's commissioned involvement. (UCLan can supply).
c. Contact 2. Professor Derek Perkins, Head of Psychological Services,
Broadmoor High Secure Hospital, (for continuing consultancy).
d. Contact 3. Martin Fisher, Principle Psychologist for Area, HM Prison
Service, (to confirm influence on policy and provision of training to
officers/areas). Ireland's book is also listed as background reading for
the Prison Service Order (i.e. PSO 2750)
e. Contact 4. Astrid Henderson, Director of operations, Ashworth High
Secure Hospital, (for policy development, research and consultancy
f. The publications listed in section 3 provide evidence of the DIPC.
g. A reference to the influence of Ireland's work on the Canadian
Correctional Service can be found in: http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/text/prgrm/fsw/wos31/wos31-CSIE-eng.pdf
h. See also http://www.esrc.ac.uk/my-esrc/grants/RES-000-22-0268/read